It is impossible to forecast what life might bring you, however, you can still prepare for it. There may be a time in your life when you cannot make decisions on your own. Should this day ever come, it is important for someone you know and trust to be in charge of critical decisions regarding your life. You can do this by designating someone with power of attorney. What exactly is this, and why do you need to consider it now? Here is what you need to know and how to find a power of attorney in North Carolina.
What is the Power of Attorney?
When granting someone with power of attorney, you are giving them the power to make certain decisions if you are unable to do so. Typically, this is due to a medical condition where you are in a coma, a vegetated state, or in such declining health that you cannot understand or perform the necessary decisions regarding yourself and your personal affairs.
These are the durable general power of attorney and the health care power of attorney. A durable general power of attorney is a document by which you give someone, called your “agent,” the legal authority to act for you with respect to those matters chosen by you.
What Kind of Power Does Power of Attorney Grant?
Depending on the authority you choose to give him or her, your agent can act for you with regard to your real and personal property, your bank accounts, your business affairs, and other matters. Typically, this power of attorney is effective immediately.
The word “durable” means that the power of attorney continues in effect in the event you become incompetent or incapacitated. Giving someone your power of attorney does not mean that you can no longer manage your own affairs; it simply means that your agent has the legal authority to manage certain matters for you, too.
Giving someone your power of attorney requires that you choose your agent with care. By law, your agent becomes a “fiduciary” with respect to those matters over which you give them authority to act for you. This means they have a legal obligation to act only in your best interest and to use good business judgment in managing those matters for you. Unfortunately, powers of attorney can be and sometimes are abused by the agent.
This means that you must be careful to give a power of attorney only to a person who you trust completely and use their authority strictly in your best interests. If you have made a durable general power of attorney, in the event that you become incompetent, most of the time your agent can take care of your property and affairs without having to go through the process of having you declared legally incompetent by the court and having the court to appoint a guardian for you. Your agent can also take care of matters for you as a matter of convenience even when you are perfectly competent to take care of those matters yourself.
A health care power of attorney is a document that gives your “health care agent” the legal authority to make healthcare decisions for you when you are not competent to make them yourself, either temporarily or permanently. Unlike the durable general power of attorney, the health care power of attorney is only for when you are not competent to make your own health care decisions. So long as you are competent, you and only you make your own health care decisions. Again, having a health care power of attorney can help your family avoid the necessity of having you declared incompetent and a guardian appointed for you.
Begin Your Will and Power of Attorney Paperwork Today
Because it is impossible to know what might happen in a year or a week from now, it is necessary to plan for all possibilities. This includes creating a will and designating the power of attorney. The two can be done at once, or you can consult with the attorneys at Wilson, Lackey, Rohr & Hall for one at a time.
Perhaps you already have a final will and testament and need to add power of attorney to it, or maybe you are interested in updating your will and power of attorney. Whatever situation you might find yourself in, at Wilson, Lackey, Rohr & Hall, all of your will and power of attorney North Carolina legal services can be handled. So contact the firm today and begin planning for tomorrow.