There will be times in your life when it will be necessary to have someone else sign paperwork on your behalf. Thankfully, the law provides a safe legal way to do this through something called power of attorney. Let’s look at some of these circumstances and what can be done to meet your needs.
Power of Attorney
With a power of attorney, you choose to give someone you whom you trust, the right to act on your behalf in financial or real estate issues. This sometimes scares people. Handing over that kind of legal power is a big deal. It’s not as concerning as it sounds. You aren’t giving anyone carte blanch ability to sign on your behalf. You are giving someone, a limited, or “specific,” power of attorney. This allows your proxy to sign legal documents on your behalf in a particular instance only, or in all legal matters that are defined, for a limited period of time.
One example is a real estate transaction of which you are unable to be present at the closing. With cross-country relocations, this is becoming more common. In these situations, you can choose to designate someone (even your Realtor) to sign on your behalf for that specific purpose. The Realtor can’t sign on your behalf on any other day or for any other reason. It is limited to the closing documents only.
Medical Power of Attorney
We always advise that you have your healthcare wishes recorded in a healthcare directive, before you have a health crisis. As part of your healthcare directive, you will assign a proxy who will have to power to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to. Just as in a power of attorney, you’ll want to make sure the proxy you choose is someone you trust to carry out your medical decisions if you are unable to. You will want to review your healthcare directive annually to ensure any changes in your wishes and your choice of healthcare proxy are updated as necessary.
Durable Power of Attorney
Who will handle your financial and legal issues if you become incapacitated? A regular power of attorney isn’t valid under these circumstances and a healthcare proxy can only make decisions related to your medical care if you are unable to. Who can make non-medical decisions and sign on your behalf in this situation? You will want to make sure that you have a “durable” power of attorney in place, with additional language to reflect your wishes.
Make It Legal
A good attorney can give you the specific legal information that fits your situation and needs. Our legal team at White & Associates can help. To learn more about powers of attorney or for other help with planning for your future, send us a message.