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Why Do I Need A Financial Power Of Attorney?

A financial power of attorney is a powerful advance planning tool. It protects your assets when or if an event occurs to you, your spouse or an aged loved one which renders you or the other person unable to handle their own financial affairs. Otherwise, if through senility, dementia, Alzheimer's, brain injury or coma, you become unable to handle your affairs and you have not prepared this instrument while still competent, your family will be faced with large legal costs and time consumption in the courts, trying to set up a conservatorship for you or your loved one.

How Do I Go About Preparing A Financial Power Of Attorney?

Arrange an appointment with your elder law attorney. Discuss with him or her what you want to achieve. Financial powers of attorney can go into effect immediately, or they can be delayed until a physician declares you incompetent to handle your own financial affairs. It can be very broad or limited to certain areas of your finances. Your elder law attorney can tailor it to your specific desires and needs. It only requires a few days to prepare and provides you with a lifetime of protection.

Whom Should I Select As My Financial Power Of Attorney?

Basically, select someone who is astute enough to understand your financial affairs, who is willing to undertake this responsibility (either for pay or without pay) and, importantly, who is a person or institution you trust. Although the law imposes strict fiduciary duties on your agent to avoid self-dealing, it always gives you peace of mind to leave this power to a trustworthy individual.

What Do I Do After I Have Executed A Financial Power Of Attorney?

It should be signed by the person you have selected as your agent. Give him or her a copy immediately.

Keep a copy for yourself in a safe place.

Give a copy to your elder care attorney.

Tell family members and close friends whom you have selected as your financial power of attorney.