Although granting power of attorney is a fairly simple and straightforward process, it has numerous benefits beyond the general day-to-day tasks that people grant it for. Power of attorney is a type of contract that allows the grantor (principal) to provide clarity in decision-making processes and the handling of legal affairs when they are not in the best position to do so. Although a power of attorney cannot be used for someone to represent you in a court, it can ultimately be used to grant authority over a living will.
Power of attorney contracts are generally separated into two branches, durable and non-durable. A durable power of attorney provides the designated grantee (agent) with power to make decisions even if you (the principal) are incapacitated mentally. A non-durable power of attorney contract allows an agent to act on your behalf in limited matters and can be drawn up to terminate at the close of said transaction such as a real estate sale while you are overseas. Let’s consider why a Power of Attorney document is so powerful in greater detail, below.
When it comes to managing your affairs, in the event that you are mentally incapacitated, the courts will assign a conservator or guardian. These court-appointed executors of your affairs are supervised by the courts. This means that all your personal matters will become public records.
When you are able to choose someone to handle your affairs in your best interest, this removes any speculation. If you are in a coma, develop Alzheimer’s, or simply come down with a serious mental health problem, the courts will look to your spouse, children, parents, siblings, and grandchildren for the strongest relation. Then, as a matter of principle, they will grant this person a court-supervised power to make your medical, legal, and financial decisions.
Not only does this put all your dirty laundry out there, but it also complicates and draws out the decision making. Worst of all, it can delegate power to someone whom you do not want to be involved and will incur lots of litigation fees on top of it.
This is especially important if your relations with your spouse are strained. If you don’t think that your spouse has your best interests in mind and is more of a dependent companion, you’ll want to delegate someone that you trust the most. This is especially true if you just married or you’ve had some rocky bumps in the relationship. If you have a special relationship with your son, a brother, or even a close friend, this may be the better choice when it comes time to decide living will matters.
One of the best parts of granting power of attorney is the convenience that it provides. If you are a busy person who travels overseas frequently, you may not have the time to handle your own personal legal affairs here. Yet, if you don’t want to hire a lawyer to act on your behalf, a power of attorney is the next best thing to let you remotely manage your affairs. And when you grant a non-durable power of attorney, you can define when the power of attorney ends and the scope of the power granted. This means that you can allow your mother to sell your home while you are deployed overseas to avoid the strain on your budget from having to pay property taxes and upkeep.
#4: Get Out of Jail Free Card
For all the potential benefits of having someone step in to fill your shoes for any legal or business transaction, it makes sense to grant a power of attorney. There are times when you may not be able to access personal banking accounts. You could wind up in prison for any reason and be unable to access funds to bail or hire a lawyer. When you consider that there are over 4,500 federal crimes in the United States and thousands more in the combined states, it is easy to wind up in jail for simply missing a child support payment or failing to timely pay parking tickets. In fact, there are now more prison guards than grocery store baggers in the United States.
#5: Get the Right Medical Treatment
As stated, if you do not have a power of attorney, the court will decide who represents your interests. The time that this takes to play out can mean the difference between life and death. If you want to secure your health, it is critical to choose the correct representative. This is especially important when it comes to living assistance issues. If you don’t want to be resuscitated and would rather have your body donated to science or would like to be an organ donor, your living will durable power of attorney is the solution. They would also be able to choose what hospital you are flown to in an emergency and the quality of care that you receive.
#6: Estate Planning
When you have a last will and testament drafted for your death, the will allows you to grant the power of people to act as executors for different facets of your affairs. You can have multiple executors in place to handle different provisions and multiple beneficiaries of your estate. A power of attorney may replace the need for a complex will if you are only granting full financial power of your estate over to one agent. Whether you need a simple power of attorney or a complex will, you can rely on the expertise of CNG Wills Sunshine Coast for all your estate planning needs.
A power of attorney is easy and affordable. Most power of attorney forms simply require the principal to notarize the document before it is made official. At that point forward, the agent is free to handle any and all legal affairs of the principal unless the scope of the power of attorney is limited. This flexibility to handle affairs extends regardless of whether the principal is incapacitated, overseas, or living life as usual.