Benefits of a Power of Attorney
A power of attorney is an estate planning tool that grants one person, a designated agent, the right to act for another person known as the principal. In a power of attorney document, you can give your agent limited or broad authority to make decisions about your property, finances, investments, or medical care. It is a flexible document that you can customize to fit your unique circumstances. In Florida, a durable power of attorney is effective immediately upon signing and stays in effect even after your incapacity.
Below are five benefits of including a power of attorney in your estate plan.
1. Eliminates the Need for a Court-Appointed Guardian
In Naples, if you do not have a power of attorney and become incapacitated, your loved ones will have to petition the court to appoint a guardian. The court will choose who will manage your financial and healthcare affairs. The guardian must be represented by an attorney, and the court will oversee the guardianship.
Establishing guardianship can be a lengthy and expensive court process that places an added burden on your loved ones during a stressful time. In addition to the added time and expenses, you will have no control over who the court chooses as your guardian. It could likely end up being an unknown third party with no real understanding of your wishes. If you have a power of attorney, your designated agent automatically assumes control, and there is no need for a court-appointed guardian.
2. You Pick Your Agent
You can choose who will act as your agent. You can consider which of your trusted loved ones is the most willing and able to handle your affairs and carry out your wishes. In Florida, you can choose any person who is 18 or older or a financial institution with trust powers who has a place of business in Florida and is authorized to conduct trust business in Florida.
3. Prevents Delays
A well-crafted power of attorney gives your agent immediate access to your assets. This is critical so your agent can continue to pay bills and manage your financial affairs if you become incapacitated and cannot act on your own behalf. Additionally, your agent will have the immediate authority to communicate with healthcare professionals and make critical medical decisions about your care.
4. Aid in Asset Protection
A well-drafted power of attorney will give the agent all the powers necessary to do effective asset protection planning. Additionally, your agent can apply for government benefits on your behalf. These benefits, such as Medicare, can be critical in paying for your care. A power of attorney can help ensure that your inheritance will not disappear to the high costs of nursing home care.
5. Helps Avoid Family Disputes
During the process of creating a power of attorney, you will be giving much thought and consideration to your wishes in the event that you become incapacitated. It provides an excellent opportunity to express your expectations to both your designated agent and your close family members. You can provide your loved ones with a clear understanding of your wishes if you do become incapacitated.
If you die without a power of attorney, it is common for family disputes to arise when loved ones have conflicting beliefs about what is the best decision. While everyone may have your best interests at heart, they are left with no guidance about what you would have wanted to happen. Comprehensive power of attorney resolves questions about the principal’s intent.
Do You Need an Attorney to Create a Power of Attorney in Naples?
A qualified Naples estate planning attorney should prepare your power of attorney. Only a comprehensive, well-drafted power of attorney will provide all the benefits listed above. When you work with a professional, you will have peace of mind that your power of attorney is a valid, comprehensive legal document that fits your unique circumstances.
Call A Naples Power of Attorney Lawyer
If you do not want to perform a certain action, or fear that you may be too incapacitated to perform a needed action, having a power of attorney can help to ease your mind – but it must be executed properly. Attorney James R. Nici is well versed in these cases and will work hard to make sure yours has an appropriate outcome. Contact our offices today at (239) 449-6150 or use our web form to set up a free consultation.