Beware the Will-Kit Part II: Powers of Attorney
In my first post, "Beware the Will-Kit: The Costly Consequences of a $9.99 Will", I discussed the importance of a lawyer-made Will. The same principle applies, if not more so, to Powers of Attorney. Similar to Wills, there are very specific legislative requirements as to the proper execution of Powers of Attorney, and failure to comply with any one of them could mean that your “DIY” documents are not legally valid.
A Power of Attorney is a document in which the Grantor (you) gives their chosen Attorney or Attorneys (the people that you’ve specifically chosen for the task) the power to make certain decisions on their behalf. The Grantor can determine who they want that Attorney to be and what scope of legal authority will be given to that Attorney.
Generally, a Grantor creates a Power of Attorney in contemplation of their potential future incapacity. If the Grantor ever loses the mental capacity of making decisions on his or her own, the Attorney has the document that proves their legal authority to make those decisions on their behalf.
There are two types of Powers of Attorney: a Power of Attorney for Property, and a Power of Attorney for Personal Care.
A Power of Attorney for Property authorizes the named Attorney or Attorneys to manage the Grantor’s property. An Attorney for Property may not, however, create a new Will for the Grantor.
A Power of Attorney for Personal Care authorizes the named Attorney or Attorneys to make, on the Grantor’s behalf, decisions concerning their personal care, including health care, nutrition, shelter, clothing, hygiene, and safety.
The decisions to be made about your property and personal care, especially in the circumstances of future incapacity, are extremely vital to your health and quality of life. If you do not have Powers of Attorney already in place, once you become mentally incapable, your loved ones must go through a court process called a Guardianship Application in order to obtain legal authority to make decisions in your best interests. These Applications are hugely time-consuming and can cost thousands of dollars in court and legal fees.
Powers of Attorney are extremely important to your future health and asset management, and a lawyer can ensure that your wishes are executed accurately.
From September through June (except for weekends with statutory holidays), Weilers offers a Walk-In Wills Clinic every Saturday morning from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. If you have any questions or concerns about reviewing your existing Will and Powers of Attorney, or if you wish to set up a Will and Powers of Attorney, please feel free to drop by our office on Saturday morning. Appointments are recommended but not necessary, however, in order to make sure you see a lawyer at the most convenient time, we are pleased to offer appointments by advance booking outside of regular office hours.