Powers of Attorney Lawyer in Blaine, Minnesota
Power of attorney is an extremely valuable estate planning tool. It allows you to give authority to someone you trust to make decisions in your stead, and it allows you to revoke that authority at any time. It offers a way to allow someone you trust to speak for you if you are unable to speak for yourself. You don’t have to be thinking about a will or trust to consider creating powers of attorney. Ultimately, powers of attorney may give you and others in your life some much-needed peace of mind.
At The Law Office of Robert J. Everhart, PLC, I help clients in Blaine, Minnesota, and in Hennepin, Ramsey, and Sherburne counties learn about powers of attorney, explore what ones they might want to execute, and create those that serve their unique goals. If you are ready to have that discussion, I am ready to help.
What Is a Power of Attorney?
In general, powers of attorney are documents in which you authorize someone else to make certain decisions and take certain actions on your behalf. The person creating powers of attorney is the principal. The person to whom the principal grants authority is referred to as the agent or attorney-in-fact.
Powers of attorney may be revoked by you at any time so long as you give the agent notice and so long as you have the mental capacity to do so. Many powers of attorney have an expiration date, and all of them expire upon your death. To have someone take care of your affairs after your death, you should name a personal representative in a will and/or a successor trustee in a living trust.
You should also know that with some powers of attorney, you authorize someone else to do certain things at the same time you are making those decisions. If you and your attorney-in-fact disagree, you make the decision, not your agent. For example, if you have granted authority to an agent to manage your business and the agent wants to purchase a certain piece of equipment and you do not, it is your decision.
What Types of Powers of Attorney
Are There in Minnesota?
Minnesota recognizes more than one type of power of attorney. In a general power of attorney, you can authorize your agent to handle a number of things on your behalf. These actions may include buying and selling property, investing your money, managing your business affairs, suing someone, cashing checks made out to you, managing your financial affairs, or applying for Social Security, Medicare, and other government benefits for you.
A limited power of attorney allows you to authorize an agent to do only specific things for you. For example, you can authorize your agent to deposit checks and pay bills for you when you are out of the country. Or, you can authorize your agent to enter into a contract with a contractor to make a specific repair to your home.
Powers of attorney expire if you become physically or mentally incapable of making your own decisions. You must have a durable power of attorney to have your agent’s authority to continue in the event of your incapacitation.
A durable power of attorney for healthcare is an important tool. It allows you to decide who has the authority to make healthcare decisions if you are not able to make them yourself. If this power of attorney is not a durable power of attorney, the court will be forced to appoint a conservator to make healthcare decisions.
Moreover, a power of attorney authorizing your attorney-in-fact to conduct your financial affairs should you become incapacitated must also be durable. Otherwise, a conservatorship will be required.
What happens if your attorney-in-fact is unable or unwilling to act for you when necessary? You can and should name a successor agent who can step in.
Why Are Powers of Attorney Important?
Powers of attorney are important because they allow you to decide who you trust enough to make decisions on your behalf. If you fail to execute the proper powers of attorney, the court will decide who makes decisions for you.
What is more important than having powers of attorney is having well-crafted ones. Limiting powers, making them durable, and anticipating what could happen are all issues an experienced estate planning attorney knows how to incorporate into your powers of attorney.
What Should I Consider When
Choosing an Attorney-in-Fact?
Trust is the ultimate consideration when choosing an attorney-in-fact. You must choose someone you trust completely. You need to choose those whom you are confident will carry out your wishes as you would have had you been able. Your agent should act only in your best interest and not their own.
Keep in mind that your attorney-in-fact does not need to be a lawyer, although they can be. On the other hand, your attorney-in-fact cannot represent you as an attorney, but only your interests as provided by the authority granted in the power of attorney.
Powers of Attorney Lawyer Serving Blaine, Minnesota
Powers of attorney can be broad or specific, business or personal. They can also be simple or complicated, depending on your needs. Powers of attorney are all about you, not the person to whom you grant authority. These are incredibly valuable estate planning tools to have, so benefit from my experience in creating them. If you live in or around Blaine, Minnesota, call The Law Office of Robert J. Everhart, PLC for a consultation.