Attorneys in Anderson, Indiana Assisting With Power of Attorney Documents
Imagining yourself incapacitated and unable to manage your own affairs is not pleasant. Unfortunately, illnesses and injuries that render us incapable of conducting our own business and legal affairs can and do happen. Having a power of attorney document in place to name the person you choose to speak and act for you when you can’t do so for yourself is a way to achieve the peace of mind you need.
The experienced estate planning attorneys at Beeman Heifner Benge understand what is needed to secure your financial, business, and legal processes in the event that you are not able to manage them. Call us today at (765) 635-0065 to get started in creating this important document and protecting your and your family’s future.
What is a Power of Attorney?
A power of attorney is a document that grants the authority to make legal, financial, and business decisions to another person of your choosing. Powers of attorney can be temporary and limited, such as a document granting decision-making powers to someone for a specified time when you will be out of the country and unavailable, or could grant the power to sign exactly one contract in your stead because you are unable to be physically present to sign it, for example. On the other hand, the powers granted may be broad and long-lasting in what is called a durable power of attorney.
A durable power of attorney is a document in which you name a trusted person to conduct your business, financial, and legal affairs with all the authority you would normally have yourself, should you become incapacitated and unable to make those decisions. In most cases, you must be declared incapable by one or more doctors, as specified in the document, and the powers only last as long as your incapacity. This may be for the remainder of your life if your incapacity is permanent or may only last until you recover sufficiently to take over your affairs again.
What Qualities Should I Look for When Granting Power of Attorney?
Because the person you name to take over your power of attorney should you become incapacitated will have the authority to make decisions in your stead, you should choose someone who is trustworthy, intelligent, and responsible. Choosing someone with good financial and business judgment is also important, as they will likely be handling your bank accounts, retirement funds, real estate, and any other assets you may have.
While incapacity can happen at any time, it is most likely to happen later in life, when faculties begin to fail, and diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia may begin to take hold. For this reason, it is wise to choose an agent who is younger than you are, or at least not significantly older so that they are likely to be capable mentally and physically at the time they need to step in.
You should also choose someone who knows you well enough to be able to make good guesses as to what you would want to be done in cases that you have not specifically discussed.
What if I Am Named as Someone’s Agent But am Unwilling or Unable to Perform the Duties?
Even if someone is named as the agent in another person’s power of attorney, they cannot be forced to accept the role. There are many reasons an agent may be unwilling or unable to step in to manage another person’s affairs, including their own possible incapacity or death. Therefore, most power of attorney documents will name one or more successor agents to take over if the primary agent can or will not.
Why Choose Beeman Heifner Benge?
At Beeman Heifner Benge, our estate planning attorneys will make sure that your power of attorney documents are complete and legally binding, and we will help you to consider all of the variables as you make these important decisions about your and your family’s future. Call us today at (765) 635-0065 for a free consultation.