Power of Attorney

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Power of Attorney

There comes a point in almost every person's life when estate planning becomes an important area of concern. For many, this time comes sooner than expected, leaving a short window of time to make sure that all of their affairs are in order should they become incapacitated or deceased. When planning your estate, one important document you should be familiar with is called a power of attorney. This document (and its many variations) is used to protect your medical, financial, and other interests in the event that you are not able to make decisions on your own due to illness, mental capacity, or death. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with the idea of planning your estate, you’re not alone. Filing a power of attorney requires that you understand stressful and complex scenarios, as well as the legal restrictions they come with. Fortunately, if you’re looking for a “power of attorney lawyer near me,” Hunter Sargent, PLLC can provide compassionate and experienced estate planning as well as general advice for those who need help getting started. Give us a call at (940) 594-7754 or email us at hunter@dentonlegacy.com.

How to Create a Power of Attorney

Once you’re familiar with the various types of power of attorney available, a power of attorney lawyer near me will help you through the proceeding steps. You’ll first want to decide who will be the agent listed in your power of attorney. This will need to be someone that you trust to act in your best interest and will treat your decisions and assets with respect. For many people, this is a close family member or relative, but it can also be a business partner or close friend. The next step is to specify the powers granted. It could be something as menial as “I would like $20 deposited into my grandson’s account every Christmas if I become too ill to do so” or something more exacting such as “My business shall never open up a franchise in the State of Virginia after my passing.” Whatever the powers may be, our firm can communicate them in clear and legally binding wording so that your best interests are protected. The next step will be to file the necessary paperwork. There are several forms to fill out, including to the IRS, which our firm will be able to collect and brief you on as well as file and maintain on your behalf. Once the paperwork is filed, we can begin drafting the document outlining all of the necessary information including all agents, terms, powers granted, and start and end dates. Once the document is approved by you and the other individuals who will be acting on your behalf, the document will be notarized in accordance with state law and signed by you, your agents, your power of attorney lawyer, and additional witnesses. If any issues regarding your power of attorney come up in the years following its distribution, a power of attorney lawyer near you can help you make updates to the original document.

Understanding Power of Attorney

A power of attorney, sometimes abbreviated as POA, is a legal document that grants someone the authority to act on behalf of another person, known as the principal. The person granted this authority is called the attorney-in-fact or agent. The principal may give the agent broad or limited powers to make decisions and take actions on their behalf, depending on the specific terms outlined in the power of attorney document. There are various situations where a person may need a power of attorney to appoint someone to act on their behalf. Here are some common examples: Managing Finances: If an individual is unable to handle their financial affairs due to reasons such as illness, disability, or travel, someone they granted a power of attorney to could do so for them. The appointed agent can then manage bank accounts, pay bills, and handle financial transactions. Real Estate Transactions: Individuals who are buying or selling property but cannot be present for the closing or signing of documents may use a power of attorney to authorize someone else to represent them in the real estate transaction. Business Transactions: Business owners may use a power of attorney to designate someone to make decisions on their behalf in business matters. This can be useful when the business owner is unavailable or facing a temporary incapacity. Healthcare Decisions: A medical power of attorney, or healthcare proxy, allows individuals to appoint someone to make medical decisions on their behalf if they become incapacitated and are unable to communicate their wishes. This is particularly important in critical healthcare situations. Military Deployment: Individuals in the military may use a power of attorney to grant authority to a trusted person to handle their affairs while they are deployed, ensuring that financial and legal matters are managed in their absence. Elderly or Vulnerable Individuals: Older adults or individuals with diminished capacity may use a power of attorney to plan for the future. This allows a trusted person to assist with financial, legal, and healthcare decisions as needed. Travel or Residency Abroad: People who plan to be away from home for an extended period or who reside in a different country may appoint an agent through a power of attorney to handle their affairs locally. If any of these situations apply to you, you may want to consider creating a power of attorney so your assets and best interests are protected. Wondering where to start? We can help you create a rock-solid power of attorney that serves your unique interests and needs. Call (940) 594-7754 or email hunter@dentonlegacy.com to begin planning your future today. Hunter Sargent, PLLC is knowledgeable in and equipped to deal with the many issues that arise with estate planning.

What Is the Difference Between a Power of Attorney and a Conservatorship?

Many of our clients are familiar with recent news surrounding conservatorships in cases such as the Spears family or the Oher family. A power of attorney and a conservatorship are both legal mechanisms that involve granting authority to someone to make decisions on behalf of another individual. However, they differ significantly in their nature and initiation. A power of attorney is a voluntary and proactive arrangement wherein an individual, known as the principal, grants specific powers to an agent or attorney-in-fact to act on their behalf. This arrangement is typically established while the principal is of sound mind and able to make decisions. In contrast, a conservatorship is a court-appointed legal relationship established when an individual is deemed incapacitated or unable to manage their own affairs. The court appoints a conservator, often a family member or professional, to make decisions related to the person's financial, legal, and sometimes personal matters. Conservatorships are often more intrusive and involve ongoing court supervision, whereas powers of attorney are based on trust and the principal's proactive decision-making. The choice between the two depends on the specific circumstances, with powers of attorney being preferred when individuals want to plan for potential future incapacity, while conservatorships are established as a protective measure when incapacity is imminent or has already occurred.

Types of Power of Attorney in Texas

There are many types of powers of attorney that serve a variety of needs for the people who create them. Below are the most common types that our power of attorney lawyer creates on behalf of our clients in Texas.

General Power of Attorney

A general power of attorney typically grants broad decision-making authority to an appointed agent, allowing them to act on behalf of the principal in various matters. This type of power of attorney is comprehensive, covering financial, legal, and personal affairs. The agent, also known as the attorney-in-fact, has the authority to make decisions such as managing finances, signing documents, and handling business transactions. It is a valuable tool for situations where the principal needs assistance with various aspects of their affairs, especially when they are unable to handle them personally.

Limited Power of Attorney

A limited power of attorney, in contrast to a general one, grants the agent specific and restricted powers for a defined purpose or period. This type allows the principal to tailor the authority granted to the agent based on particular needs. For example, a limited power of attorney might be created to authorize someone to handle a real estate transaction, sign documents on behalf of the principal, or make decisions related to a specific event. Once the specified task or time frame is completed, the limited power of attorney becomes void, providing a more focused and controlled approach to the delegation of decision-making authority.

Durable Power of Attorney

A durable power of attorney is a specific type of POA that remains effective even if the principal becomes mentally or physically incapacitated. Unlike a general power of attorney, which may terminate in such situations, a durable power of attorney persists, ensuring continuity of decision-making. This type is particularly useful in long-term planning, allowing the appointed agent to continue managing the principal's affairs during periods of incapacity. It is crucial to explicitly state the durability of the power of attorney document to ensure that the agent's authority endures despite the principal's incapacity.

Springing Power of Attorney

A springing power of attorney is a POA that becomes effective only under certain conditions, typically when the principal becomes incapacitated or unable to make decisions. Unlike a general power of attorney, which is effective upon signing, a springing power of attorney "springs" into action when a triggering event occurs. This triggering event is specified in the document and is often tied to the mental or physical incapacity of the principal. The intention is to ensure that the agent's authority is activated only when needed, allowing the principal to maintain control over their affairs during periods of competence. Springing powers of attorney are commonly used in situations where individuals want to plan for potential future incapacity while retaining autonomy over their affairs until such a situation arises.

Financial Power of Attorney

A financial power of attorney is a specialized type of POA that focuses specifically on granting authority related to financial matters. This can include managing bank accounts, handling investments, paying bills, and conducting other financial transactions on behalf of the principal. Individuals may choose to create a financial power of attorney to ensure that their financial affairs are appropriately managed, especially in situations where they may be unavailable or unable to handle these matters personally.

Medical Power of Attorney

A medical power of attorney, also known as a healthcare power of attorney or healthcare proxy, empowers an appointed agent to make medical decisions on behalf of the principal in the event they are unable to do so. This type of power of attorney is crucial for situations where the principal faces a medical crisis or is otherwise unable to communicate their healthcare preferences. The agent can make decisions about medical treatments, surgeries, and other healthcare-related matters based on the principal's expressed wishes or, if unknown, in their best interests. Creating a medical power of attorney is an essential component of healthcare planning, ensuring that someone trusted can advocate for the principal's medical needs.
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Power of Attorney Lawyer Near Me

Many people think that estate planning is primarily for wealthy or older people, but they may be surprised at the diversity of people who are simply looking to protect their financial matters and personal or medical decisions. Power of attorney lawyers help these individuals by explaining the nuances of estate law, taking on the complexities of estate planning, and creating a POA that serves their specific needs. If you’re considering creating a power of attorney in Texas, Hunter Sargent, PLLC can provide you with a peace of mind, leaving you confident that your financial matters and other decisions are taken care of. Call our firm at (940) 594-7754 or email us at hunter@dentonlegacy.com for a consultation, and we’ll get to work drafting your power of attorney today.

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    While this website provides general information, it does not constitute legal advice. Any communication with Hunter Sargent, PLLC via e-mail or through this website does not constitute or create an attorney-client relationship and is not privileged or confidential.