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Establishing Powers Of Attorney With Reliable Help From Pittsburgh Estate Planning Lawyers

The purpose of a power of attorney is to make another individual responsible for your assets when you become disabled or pass away. This person will have the authorization to perform tasks on your behalf, such as writing checks, making deposits, choosing investments and collecting returns. The chosen individual will also be able to sell your house and make legal decisions as your representative.

A power of attorney also gives your representative or “agent” the ability to perform the tasks you normally would, like running your business or selling a vehicle. The agent is typically a trustworthy member of your immediate family but can also be a close friend. A lawyer from our firm can help you determine who would be the best choice.

Choosing Your Agent

If you are going to create a power of attorney, then you will want to carefully choose a responsible and reliable man or woman to take care of your finances for you. Because you are giving the agent such immense power over your estate, you want to make sure that you can trust their decisions. You also want to make sure that the individual’s decisions are in line with your thinking. If you have a loved one that does not think about finances the same way you do, then you may not want to choose that person as your potential agent. If you are not sure who you think you should choose as your power of attorney, then you may want to ponder these suggestions.

You can always select your spouse to make financial decisions on your behalf. If your husband or wife is in good health, and you trust him or her to handle your finances responsibly, then you should name that person as your agent with the power of attorney. You can also select a contingent power of attorney, such as a close relative, in case your spouse becomes incapacitated or passes away. If a spouse is not a suitable option, then you can also choose a close relative to handle your finances. The person you select will need to conduct banking and legal financial transactions, so ideally, they should live close to you, although this is not a strict requirement thanks to many opportunities to conduct such business remotely.

You can also appoint a trustworthy son or daughter to handle your finances in the future. It is permissible to appoint co-agents such as siblings to share the job. This can also minimize the sibling rivalry that may occur if you choose one child and not another. Unfortunately, however, choosing two people may result in delayed transactions such as the payment of bills and taxes. If you are going to appoint co-agents, then make sure that they get along reasonably well and won’t be bickering. You may want to appoint two agents, but only give each of them control over a specific area. For example, one agent can handle your personal business endeavors while the other can handle personal transactions like maintenance of your house and grounds.

Types Of Powers Of Attorney

There are many options available when choosing the specific power of attorney someone will have, and your choice may be determined by three factors:

  • The level of authorization you want to give your agent
  • When you desire your agent to begin representing you
  • When you desire to dismiss your agent from his/her duties

There are four types of powers of attorney, including:

  • A limited power of attorney that is set up to last for a limited amount of time
  • A general power of attorney that grants only a general level of authority to your agent in financial, medical and legal matters
  • A durable power of attorney document that is enacted when you become incapacitated, and your agent takes over
  • A springing power of attorney that “springs” into effect when you are incapacitated in a clearly defined way

Within a given power of attorney, you have the right to specify the level of authority that you want your agents to have. This will make sure that you do not have one agent handling an area where you know he or she is not capable. For example, you can determine whether or not an agent has the right to file your annual tax return. You can also ask for one individual to hire a trusted professional to deal with some financial matters. If you are going to allow your agent to handle bank transactions, then make sure that you provide your bank with a signature authorization so that the agents will not face unnecessary hurdles.

Do You Need A Power Of Attorney In The Near Future?

Emergencies often occur suddenly and without warning. A power of attorney can salvage many situations and assets in the unfortunate case that you are no longer able to carry out those tasks on your own. If you have assets stored up, you don’t want them to go to the first person that the court appoints. Instead, you should take pains to carefully work through the power of attorney process so that you can trust your finances are being taken care of.

A medical power of attorney is a similar document that designates an individual to make health care decisions on your behalf if you are no longer able to make such decisions for yourself. This powerful estate planning tool can be set in place by a lawyer from our firm.

At Temple & Frayer, we can help determine which form of power of attorney would best fit your situation. We can assist you in the drawing of the document so that it fits your needs, now and in the future. Reach out to a Pittsburgh estate planning lawyer at our firm online or call 412-998-1197 to prepare for the uncertain future. You can be at peace that your finances will be taken care of by a trusted individual through a power of attorney document.