Lincoln Power of Attorney
There are many important decisions that you will need to make in your lifetime. Unfortunately, one of the toughest realities to face is having to decide what you want to be done when you are incapacitated. Even more vital is deciding who you want to make those decisions on your behalf when you are unable to do so yourself. From incapacitation to death, the day-to-day decisions that we make must now be made by someone else. Knowing who will do that can be hard because you want to know that they are aligned with your goals and wants.
Determining who should have your power of attorney may seem easy enough, as many often look to a loved one. However, this decision can have a profound impact. These decisions that are being made on your behalf will also affect your family and what you may leave behind. At Stange Law Firm, our estate planning attorneys know how important it is to have the right person in place that will look out for your wishes. We understand that the decisions you make every day are essential, but deciding who will continue to make them on your behalf in Lincoln, NE could be even more important.
What Does a Power of Attorney Give Your Authority Over?
Granting a person the power of attorney allows them to make decisions on your behalf, should you be incapacitated for any reason. The power is established in a legal document that is constructed with the help of your attorney. It grants decision-making privileges based on the purpose of the power of attorney.
The purpose of the power of attorney is to allow medical, financial, or property decisions to continue on your behalf should you face an illness, injury, or disease that otherwise renders you incapable of making decisions. However, the use of a power of attorney could also simply be in the case where a person will be away for a while and otherwise unreachable. In any event, it grants decision-making powers that you would otherwise hold to another trusted individual of your choosing.
While a power of attorney grants a wide range of decision-making abilities, it does not give an at-will power to make any decisions a person wants. When the power of attorney is established, it will specify the areas of decision-making that such power is granted to. This is one reason that working with an attorney to establish a power of attorney can help ensure that the documentation is done correctly.
Durable Power of Attorney
One type of power of attorney that a person may grant to another is called a durable power of attorney. When a durable power of attorney is granted, your agent, referred to as your attorney-in-fact, is granted the power to make decisions concerning your property, finances, and legal affairs while you may otherwise be incapacitated. Under this power, your attorney-in-fact is given authority to make decisions for you until your incapacitation ends or until your death.
Under a durable power of attorney, the decision-making responsibilities are made clear as to what decisions can and cannot be made. In some cases, you may wish for someone to be able to make decisions on establishing a trust, making gifts, or changing benefits. However, you may also wish for the scope of their decision-making to be more limited.
Because of the decision-making powers you grant, selecting a person to be your attorney-in-fact is not a choice that should be taken lightly. They will have the ability to make decisions that could impact your estate planning and your family’s benefits. The person you choose should know what your interests are, what your wishes are, and be willing to be held accountable through careful record-keeping and documentation.
Health Care Power of Attorney
A second type of power of attorney is that over your health. The decision of whom to entrust your medical decisions to could quite literally be a matter of life and death. Should you become incapacitated and need medical treatment, you will need someone who can make decisions concerning the revival of life, surgical needs, etc. Sometimes, we make decisions on whom this person is without considering their religious affiliation or morality. While you may respect the choices they make in both of those areas of their life, if they are not aligned with your own views, they may make decisions that are against your wishes.
What Are the Disadvantages of a Power of Attorney?
While having the safety and security of a trusted individual being in charge of the decision-making if you are incapacitated is important, there are several disadvantages to a power of attorney. Some disadvantages of a power of attorney include:
- There could be questions surrounding the mental capacity of the person granting the privileges.
- Some financial institutions may have limitations on the use of a power of attorney.
- If the documentation was not created properly, the powers may not be enforceable.
- If the instructions are unclear, the person who is granted the powers may abuse them.
- The signature of the person approving the power of attorney may be forced or given under fraudulent circumstances.
- There may be a lack of oversight over the power of attorney.
There are also several financial risks involved with granting a person the power of attorney. These include:
- It gives someone the ability to withdraw money from your retirement or bank accounts.
- It allows a person to sell off property held in your name, including your home.
- They may incur debt on your behalf.
- They may enter into contracts on your behalf.
Because of these disadvantages, it is critical that whomever you select for your power of attorney be someone you can trust and rely on to make the right decisions on your behalf.
What Is the Ideal Form of Power of Attorney?
While you should choose the power of attorney that fits your specific circumstances, there is a common form that can grant you the peace of mind you are looking for. The most common type, and often considered to cover the widest range of circumstances, is a general durable power of attorney.
Under this type of power of attorney, the powers granted are broad enough that decisions can be made for a variety of important details. It remains in effect until you are able to recover the financial decision-making abilities that you had before. Once this is reestablished, the power of attorney becomes negligible, and the powers are restored back to you. This generalized coverage ensures the protection you want with the safety and security of the decisions being made.
Revoking Power of Attorney
There may be times when you need to change, update, or revoke the power of attorney that you have established. Keeping these records up to date is important, as you want to know that the decisions you want made are being done by the right person in the way that you prefer. From divorce to moving to a falling out with a friend, there are many reasons why you may wish to revoke the power of attorney, including:
- You are no longer in a state of mind that requires decisions to be made by others.
- You have lost trust in the agent you identified.
- You have decided someone else better fits the decision-making role.
- The agent you previously identified no longer lives in the area or has passed away.
These reasons, and others, are important to consider when keeping your power of attorney current. However, when you need to remove the privileges granted by the power of attorney, you must first begin with your lawyer, who can help draft the appropriate documents. They can then work with you to secure a copy of the original power of attorney document and submit that with the revocation documentation. However, revoking those privileges is more than just filing the paperwork; all parties must be notified of the legal action as well.
Lincoln Estate Planning Attorney
Establishing a solid power of attorney is an important part of estate planning. Life’s unpredictability means that, at any given moment, something could happen that takes away your ability to make decisions. This could impact not only your future but that of your family. By entrusting those powers to the safety and security of someone you trust, you can confidently know that, if you are incapacitated for any reason or are unable to make decisions, someone is taking into account your interests and doing that on your behalf.
At Stange Law Firm, we know how important this decision is for your future. From personal finances to property to health, you want to know that your wishes matter and that, when you cannot make a decision, someone is looking out for you. Our team of estate planning attorneys has the skill and experience to help bring you peace of mind. We can construct a thorough and structured power of attorney agreement to ensure that your interests are the priority. If you are considering establishing a power of attorney, contact our offices and let our attorneys help keep you protected, even when you may not be able to protect yourself.
Lancaster County (Lincoln), Nebraska Office (402-204-5002) | 421 S. 9th St., Suite 205, Lincoln, Nebraska 68508