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Estate Planning FAQ 9

How can clients safeguard their affairs in the face of physical or mental infirmity?

While everyone hopes for good health and well being for as long as possible, none can predict the future. As one ages, how does he or she plan for the management of his or her affairs in light of such uncertainty? Here is where a power of attorney can be of great use. A power of attorney is a document under which someone is named agent for another person. Attorney means agent. Attorney at law is an agent for legal matters. Attorney in fact is an agent for financial matters, who acts based upon authority granted in a document for the principal, the person who granted the authority. A power of attorney can be general and broad or can be limited to a specific matter, such as a specific bank account. A more general power would include the ability to act as agent for all bank accounts and securities, the power to pay bills, file tax returns, take care of insurance matters and in general handle the affairs of the principal. Powers of attorney can either be what are called springing powers, which spring into effect when the principal becomes disabled, or durable powers, which are effective when signed and remain in effect until revoked. Most times we use the durable power because if a power is limited to when a person is disabled there may be a need to go to court to prove disability before the power of attorney could be used. This would not be needed with the durable power.

Note that just because people are husband and wife or parent and child does not mean that they can handle the financial affairs of others. They must have legal authority to do so. Absent a power of attorney the affairs of a disabled person will sit in limbo until there is a court appointed guardian. The process of guardianship appointment is both expensive -the testimony of two physicians and the fees of attorneys for the family, the claimed incapacitated person and sometimes for the court -are required, and not particularly. A power of attorney, which is inexpensive and generally part of an overall estate plan document package, eliminates this cost and emotional toll. A power of attorney may be revoked by the principal signing a revocation form. to be effective the revocation should be delivered to the person holding the power; otherwise he or she might act entirely innocently thinking that the power was in force.

Call (732)-972-1600 today to speak to one of our skilled Estate Planning Attorneys. Located in Manalapan (Monmouth County, NJ), Cranford (Union County, NJ) and Midtown Manhattan (New York, NY); Drescher & Cheslow represents clients throughout the State of New Jersey & New York including but not limited to Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Essex, Somerset, Morris, Hudson and Ocean counties.

Ten Frequently Asked Estate Planning Questions
First: What happens if someone dies without a Will?
Second: What is probate and how much time and money does it cost?
Third: What are the different ways property can be owned and what problems can these different forms of ownership create?
Fourth: Must a parent treat all children equally?
Fifth: How should property be left for someone unable to manage it?
Sixth: Who should be named Executor or Trustee?
Seventh: What about taxes?
Eighth: What about lifetime gifts?
Ninth: How can clients safeguard their affairs in the face of physical or mental infirmity?
Tenth: How are health care decisions to be made if a person becomes unable to express his or her wishes?

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