Defining a Power of Attorney
A power of attorney (POA) is a formal written document that legally authorizes an individual to represent or act on your behalf in certain situations. As the creator of the power of attorney, you are referred to as the principal of the power. The individual you authorize to act on your behalf is the attorney-in-fact. A power of attorney provides the agent with the ability to make financial and medical decisions for you. An ordinary power of attorney will be rendered legally ineffective upon your death or incapacitation.
Durable Powers of Attorney
Elderly individuals often obtain a special type of power of attorney known as a “durable” power of attorney. Like an ordinary power of attorney, a durable power of attorney can be instituted at any time; however, if you were to become incapacitated, the durable power of attorney will remain in effect. Additionally, a durable power of attorney can also be crafted so that the transfer of financial and medical decision-making only takes effect if and when you become incapacitated. A durable power of attorney is commonly utilized by aging individuals who anticipate they may need future assistance in making decisions about their health and well-being. A durable power of attorney is an inexpensive and easy way for you to confer decision-making power to the person of your choice when the time is necessary.
Make Certain Your POA is Specific and Protection Your Interests
Although generic durable power of attorney forms are available from various resources, you should be cautious in using them for several reasons.
- Every situation is different and a power of attorney needs to be crafted to address your specific circumstances. A generic durable power of attorney form is not drafted with you in mind and, accordingly, your interests may not be fully protected.
- Massachusetts power of attorney requires specific language in order to be enforceable and effective.
- Not all power of attorney forms are created equally.
- Some contain the specified language while others do not.
- Some are current and others are outdated.
- When drafting a power of attorney, it is imperative you make certain your interests are protected. Having a skilled elder law attorney guide you through the process is the best way to ensure your durable power of attorney is being drafted correctly.
Attorney Paula Smith Can Guide You
For years, Massachusetts Elder Law Attorney, Paula A. Smith, has been representing individuals across Worcester and helping draft power of attorney forms. She works closely with her clients, listens carefully to their concerns, and creates the power of attorney form that precisely reflects her clients’ needs and intentions.
The cost for drawing up a power of attorney depends on how much time it takes to fully examine and take into consideration all aspects of the client’s particular situation. Paula Smith always provides complimentary consultations and estimates for these services.