Kurtz & Peckham, PC’s estate planning services include drafting and executing powers of attorney in a convenient and inexpensive manner.
Powers of attorney can be extremely useful for those persons who are concerned about their own possible loss of capacity to handle financial affairs in the future. A power of attorney must be executed by a person before he or she becomes incompetent. If a person is already incompetent, a conservatorship proceeding must be started in the probate court to get authority to take control of that person’s property and transaction business for them.
A power of attorney is an authorization by you to allow some other person, called your “attorney in fact,” to transact business for you and in your name while you are alive. A “limited” or “special” power of attorney authorizes the attorney in fact to act for you only in a limited capacity – such as to sell your house or to sell your car. A “general” power of attorney authorizes the attorney in fact to act for you in any business transaction you have specified.
A power of attorney is not a will. It does not dispose of any property when you die. The authority of the attorney in fact expires on the death of the principal (the person giving the power of attorney). Powers of attorney cannot be used in place of a will or trust because they are not valid after your death.
Durable powers of attorney for finances come in two basic types:
- A “Springing” durable power of attorney allows your agent to handle your financial affairs (such as paying bills, getting into accounts) only IF you become incapacitated. (This is also called a “Standby” power of attorney). The “Springing” power of attorney allows you to maintain full control of all your assets while you are competent.Through this instrument, your power of attorney will not become effective unless you become mentally incompetent to carry on business affairs. If you regain capacity, your agent loses this power – unless and until you become incapacitated again.
- An “Immediate” durable power of attorney goes into effect immediately, regardless of whether you are
incapacitated or not.
This type of power of attorney stays in effect until a specified date is reached, an event occurs, or the
person who made it revokes it.
This is often used when the maker is going to be out of the country or for an extended period of time or is temporarily incapacitated.
If you do not have a durable power of attorney for finances and you become incapacitated, often the only thing your family (or friends) can do is go to court and obtain a conservatorship. This process can take months and be expensive.
Frequently your spouse or partner is your primary agent, and then adult children or friends are successor agents in case your primary agent is unable or unwilling to act on your behalf.
A durable power of attorney for healthcare is a type of Advanced Medical Directive. See our section on Living Wills for more discussion of these medical uses of powers of attorney.
For more information on this or any traffic related issues, please feel free to call Kurtz & Peckham, PC at (303) 893-3045 or email our office at for a complimentary one half hour initial consultation with an experienced attorney.