Powers of Attorney Lawyers in North Haven, Connecticut
Estate planning can be a challenging process; however, it’s a necessary one that should be done as early as possible. A will is a great place to start, but a comprehensive estate plan should include other documents that can account for different circumstances that may arise and fill in the gaps that a will can leave.
One of the most important of these is called power of attorney. If you’d like to sit down with an experienced estate planning attorney to discuss the different types of powers of attorney and how they can benefit you, call us at the DeChello Law Firm LLC. We’re happy to represent clients in North Haven, Connecticut, and throughout New Haven County.
What Is a Power of Attorney?
When you establish a power of attorney, you assign an individual to act in your place in a limited legal capacity. This person is sometimes called your agent or your attorney-in-fact. The exact powers your agent has will be spelled out in the document and can give them a broad capacity to act on your behalf, or their powers can be rather narrow. Regardless of how you choose to set this up, it’s essential that you do have someone named as your attorney-in-fact so you can ensure you have a trusted partner looking out for the best interests of both you and your family.
There are three main types of power of attorney, and each can be used in different circumstances depending on your needs:
General: As the name implies, a general power of attorney is the most far-reaching and allows your agent to represent you in a number of ways which can include managing property, bank accounts, assets, signing checks, or even medical directives.
Durable: A durable power of attorney is the most secure and gives your agent power over legal and financial matters, even if you become mentally incapacitated.
Limited: Lastly, a limited power of attorney will only apply to the specific areas that you spell out in the document. For instance, you may stipulate that your agent only has the power to manage your bank accounts but not your investments.
Although powers of attorney established in one state will be valid in others, certain states may wish to add their own provisions regarding it. For example, in Connecticut, when you set up a power of attorney, it will always be durable unless you note otherwise. Additionally, if you choose to change your agent, under Connecticut law, it does not automatically revoke your previous agent, and this should be addressed with your attorney.
Why Are They Important?
As we age, we tend to need more and more help from our friends and loved ones, and by taking the time to establish a thoughtful estate plan and power of attorney, we can ensure that we not only get the help we need but that it’s coming from people we trust and that we’ve chosen.
None of us can be certain what our future will bring, and the more comprehensive our planning, the better off our loved ones will be. If you unexpectedly find yourself in an accident or suffering from an illness or medical condition that severely limits your capability to communicate and make decisions, you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing that you hand-selected a responsible, trustworthy individual who can act in your stead.
Considerations When Choosing an Agent
Obviously, the person you choose to be your agent should be someone who has proven their responsibility and level-headedness, but it should also be someone who knows you well and your values. They don’t necessarily have to share the same values as you, but they should be trusted to make a decision on your behalf according to your preferences, not theirs.
You can choose to appoint more than one person to have power of attorney. For example, many people choose to name a family member, such as a spouse or child, to be their agent. You may decide that one child who’s particularly good with numbers and banking be in charge of any financial decisions that need to be made, while the other child who has a medical background will be your agent for any healthcare-related decisions.
It is vital to be aware that you can change who your attorney is at any time as long as you’re still of sound mind. Be sure to connect with your attorney if you wish to revise your power of attorney so they can ensure that your previous agent is revoked. If this does not happen, it’s possible that you could have two agents who are legally capable of making decisions for you.
Powers of Attorney
North Haven, Connecticut
At the DeChello Law Firm LLC in North Haven, Connecticut, our team is committed to a customized approach for all our clients, meeting them where they’re at and ensuring they fully understand their options to make informed decisions. Call us today to schedule a consultation.