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Livonia, Northville, and Plymouth’s Financial and Health Care Power of Attorney Lawyer

Power of attorney ("POA"), is a legal document that allows an individual to act on another person’s behalf if they are unable to do so. These documents can be assigned to an appointed family member, trusted friend, or business organization that you trust to manage all of your personal affairs. There are various types of powers of attorney, each granting control at a varying level to the person in power, also known as the attorney-in-fact. POAs can grant control to the attorney-in-fact for a specific amount of time or indefinitely.  Powers of Attorney are a core building block of a comprehensive estate plan and can benefit anyone from a recent high school graduates to retirees. 

Power of attorney is an alternative to judicial guardianship and conservatorship. They allow the client who anticipates the possibility of disability or incapacity to provide an efficient, private, out-of-court mechanism for dealing with his or her own affairs. 

durable power of attorney, limited and genera powers, springing or immediate powers.

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Who Should You Select as an Agent

Selecting who will have a power of attorney is a personal decision.  Generally, you will want to choose someone that you trust implicitly, as well as, someone who is close in geographic proximity.  It is also a good idea to designate a successor agent in case the first named agent cannot or does not want to act when or if the time comes due.

What is the Scope of a Power of Attorney

The principle can determine what authority with be given to the agent in fact.  If you have full confidence in the person you may want to give very broad or a general power of attorney.  However, if you only want to provide limited powers, you can draft exactly what powers the attorney in fact has, for example the ability to file tax returns or pay bills.  Further, you can provide general authority, but place specific limits; for example, no ability to make gifts.

Limited power of attorney: - These POAs give an individual specific, limited power to sign and act on behalf of the granter. These could be specific to financial documents, deeds, or healthcare directives and generally have a specified end date.

General power of attorney: - Attorney-in-fact will have unlimited power over the granter’s needs. These POAs assign the attorney-in-fact the right to sign documentation, make financial and healthcare decisions. These POAs generally expire at a predetermined date.

When Does a Power of Attorney Become Effective

A durable power of attorney (“DPOA”) provides that the document is effective even after the person who has executed it no longer has the capacity to do so: it is ‘durable’.  A durable power of attorney will ensure that, should you become incapacitated whether for a short term or progressively until death, someone you trust and name as your attorney in fact (agent) will have the authority to take care of your matters.

The authority for a DPOA can either be 1) immediate or 2) springing.

Immediate power of attorney: - is effective as soon as the principle signs it.

Springing power of attorney: - is effective only upon the occurrence of some event you have defined; or upon the determination of the principal’s incapacity (e.g. panel of 3 physcians)

While most people can benefit from a well drafted power of attorney, if you still have questions, Matt would welcome the opportunity to sit down together during a free consultation and discuss the benefits of drafting a power of attorney as part of a comprehensive estate plan. 

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