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POWER OF ATTORNEY
Assigning a legal Power of Attorney is an important part of the estate planning process. Your Power of Attorney will be authorized to handle your important legal and financial affairs if you are unable to attend to them personally.
WHAT IS POWER OF ATTORNEY?
Power of attorney is a legally binding document that allows you to appoint someone to manage your property, medical, or financial affairs in the event that you are incapacitated or not physically present to make decisions on your own behalf. Powers can be very broad or very limited. This document is separate from the will and trust, yet these different tools all work together to create a cohesive estate plan.
Power of attorney can be temporary or permanent and can also be revoked in the event of changing circumstances. The authority of your agent to act on your behalf can be made effective immediately upon the signing of the document, or it can be triggered by specified future events. Your agent, or attorney-in-fact, will be required to provide proof of the power of attorney for most financial and legal transactions.
WHY WOULD I GIVE SOMEONE POWER OF ATTORNEY?
Although it may not seem like the best idea to give another person power to handle your personal financial, medical, and legal affairs, the opposite may be true. Having a power of attorney is an important part of planning for an uncertain future. In the event that you are unavailable to act in the case of an emergency, it can be important to have a trusted agent.
When no power of attorney is designated in the estate plan, it often falls to the courts to determine who is the best qualified to act on your behalf. This can lead to undesirable outcomes, legal battles, family fighting, and other complications. It is wise to appoint a power of attorney that you trust while you are of sound mind and body.
Many people grant power of attorney to their spouse or grown children. You can name an agent as well as successors if your agent is unable to act. For example, if both you and your spouse were temporarily incapacitated, a successor would become the backup agent who could act on your behalf to pay your bills or manage financial matters for you.
WHY CHOOSE BAINUM LAW FOR YOUR POWER OF ATTORNEY?
Setting up a power of attorney must be done properly to ensure that there are no abuses of this power. This is where the services of an experienced local attorney are so valuable. Craig M. Bainum has been practicing law in Utah for nearly 30 years. His decades of experience can help to create a personal estate plan that meets your needs. For more information on the other steps in the estate planning process, see our pages about Wills, Trusts, and Health Care Directives.
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