Thursday, April 01, 2010

Is Your Power of Attorney Powerless or Powerful?

I can't stress enough, how everyone no matter what age, should have a power of attorney in place.

This should be a durable power of attorney that covers not only your health decisions but also your financial decisions should you not be able to make them for yourself.

This can happen from a stroke, an accident, dementia, or a debilitating medical condition. Sure, it happens more often among the elderly, but can happen at any age without notice.

Many people think that as soon as you sign one you turn over decisions to someone else, but unless it is an immediate power of attorney this is not the case.

You don't need an attorney to create one, but it doesn't hurt if your situation is at all complicated. Since this is an important document, you want it to be state compliant and not have any "got-yas" you may not be aware of.

Many generated even by attorneys may have language that will come back and haunt you. It may limit what your agent can do by too much and tie their hands. Each situation is unique and should be well thought out.

It should be your wishes carried out and not those of a judge who has never met or spoken with you. This is the only choice when a power of attorney is not in place before a situation occurs when you are not able to speak for yourself.

I'm not an attorney, but I can review your documents and look for common language that may not be in your best interest. Then an attorney can modify the document to work for you and not against you.

Whether you are 20 or 90 this is one of the most important documents you will ever need.

Paula Straub

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