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What are reasons to assign a power of attorney?

New York residents should face the fact that they may not always have the ability to decide what will happen to their personal finances. One way for you to ensure that you will retain control over your assets, including how they are managed, is to assign someone to act as your agent, to grant them power of attorney. Your agent will manage your finances in the event you cannot do so.

According to CNN.com, there are a number of reasons to assign a power of attorney. First, there is no telling what life may throw at you. Some people may suffer a tragic accident that leaves them incapacitated and unable to make important financial decisions, pay bills or manage monetary investments. Even if you should be fortunate to live a long life, age still brings a general decline in vitality and health, and it is possible you may suffer diminished mental ability in your advanced years. If incapacitated, a power of attorney may be able to make decisions when you are unable to do so.

Additionally, in the event you do become incapacitated, the court may appoint a person to act as the guardian of your affairs. This takes the decision out of your hands, although judges may still act in consultation with your family. However, even if your family does pick somebody that you might approve of, the process can also cost your family legal fees in doing so, plus there are costs involved in the guardian reporting back to the court on your current situation.

Conversely, if you pick a family member or friend to act as your power of attorney, you may not have to pay that person at all. Selecting your own power of attorney can save you and your family costs if you handle matters correctly. However, not all individuals have the luxury of choosing someone close to them to act as a power of attorney, so in the event you have to hire a lawyer or a bank to act for you, you will have to pay a certain fee or a percentage of your assets.

If you are concerned about a power of attorney making decisions on your behalf while you are still physically fit and mentally alert, you can create a springing power of attorney arrangement. The person acting as your agent will not have any power of attorney unless certain circumstances are met. Should you actually become incapacitated or otherwise cannot make decisions for yourself, the agent will then have the power of attorney.

This article, while offering information on power of attorney, is not to be taken as legal advice.

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Joseph A. Ledwidge, P.C.
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Joseph A. Ledwidge, P.C.