A power of attorney is a very powerful document by which you appoint an individual to make decisions on your behalf when you become unable to make them yourself. You the creator are known as the principal while your agent who becomes responsible for you is called an attorney-in-fact. Do not be confused by the terminology; this person doesn’t have to be a lawyer. It can be your relative, friend, or trusted business associate.
In Long Island, power of Attorney (POA) is often used for incapacity planning as part of estate planning. By creating a POA and naming an agent, you would have someone to manage your healthcare, finances, and personal upkeep when you become bed-ridden or incapacitated.
Notably, creating a power of attorney prevents your family from having to go through several court proceedings to prove your incompetence and get you guardianship.
Get help from an estate planning attorney
A power of attorney document in Long Island must comply with Long Island, NY laws for validity. There are requirements that can make or break your plan. It is therefore important you seek expert assistance from an experienced Long Island estate planning attorney to ensure you get everything right.
At our estate planning law firm, we have helped a plethora of citizens throughout Long Island in executing a suitable power of attorney according to their situation and needs. We can help you. Give us a call.
Types of Powers of attorney Long Island
Notably, there are different kinds of power of attorney and each has its own place.
The two major categories of powers of attorney Long Island
- Durable power of attorney: This document goes into effect immediately it is created. Whenever you become incapacitated, your agent immediately steps into your shoes to handle your affairs and make decisions on your behalf. Nobody has to go to court as is typical of Guardianship.
- Springing power of attorney: This document goes into effect only when you have been legally proven incompetent. You can create it today while competent but would remain dormant until incapacity.
Some prefer to use the springing power of attorney as it prevents their agent from getting involved in their affairs before full incapacity. But then, when incapacity comes, the agent would have to go to court and prove your incapacity before they can step into your shoes. This defeats the purpose of avoiding guardianship because in this case, the court will get involved.
The durable POA avoids that hassle.
Powers of attorney can also be classified according to the jurisdiction of the attorney-in-fact.
- Medical/healthcare power of attorney: In a medical or healthcare power of attorney, your agent is only authorized to make healthcare decisions on your behalf. So when you’re sick and bedridden, they can decide whether to put in hospital, the kind of treatment or surgery you’ll receive, or whether to place you in a nursing home. Here, your agent has no authorization over your financial estate.
- Financial power of attorney: When most people talk about power of attorney, it is often the financial power of attorney they refer to. In this type, the agent has jurisdiction only over the finances of the principal. They can make decisions concerning what asset to invest, sell, or buy, pay your bills, get access to your bank accounts, etc., but may not make personal and healthcare decisions for you.
- General power of attorney: Here, your agent has authority to make both personal healthcare and financial decisions on your behalf.
Ensure your chosen attorney-in-fact is someone you can literally trust with your life. It’s best to choose someone you believe will always make a call similar to what you’d have made were you competent.
Does a power of attorney need to be notarized in Long Island?
Yes, your power of attorney has to be notarized as enshrined in the N.Y. General Obligations Law 5-1501B). It must be signed and dated by the principal who must be of sound mental capacity at the time of signing the document.
Consult an estate planning attorney near you Long Island
Long Island laws allow only certain people to qualify as your agent. Also, you need to ensure your power of attorney is working in sync with your overall estate plan. For example, you should not have a trustee and an attorney-in-fact as two different people. It means you have given two people authority over your estate, and there’s bound to be confusion.
To ensure you get your estate planning right, consult an estate planning attorney near you today.