Why You Need a Power of Attorney
While everyone knows that it is important to plan for the future, making specific arrangements for a time when you may become incapacitated or unable to make your own decisions. Nonetheless, it is important that you consider this possibility so that the person or persons whom you choose are able to make decisions for you.
A power of attorney grants certain decision-making powers from himself or herself (the “principal”) to another (the “agent” or “attorney-in-fact”). Powers of attorney can grant a number of different powers – personal power, financial power, business power, and legal power. However, the agent only has the authority to utilize whatever powers are outlined in the legal power of attorney document, and nothing more. Additionally, you can terminate a power of attorney at any time. Therefore, if you change your mind, you are free to change your designated power of attorney, or simply not appoint one.
Unless specified otherwise, a power of attorney takes effect immediately. However, a power of attorney is often “springing,” which means that it only goes into effect when a certain event happens. Typically, the springing event is the incapacity of the principal. In other words, when the principal becomes incapacitated and unable to make his or her own decisions, the power of attorney goes into effect. Incapacitation typically occurs when one or more physicians certify that an individual is no longer mentally competent to make decisions.
However, failing to have a power of attorney can result in difficult circumstances for you and your family. With a power of attorney in place, you may be able to avoid the often lengthy and expensive probate process. You also may make matters much simpler for your family should you become suddenly incapacitated, since you already have decision-making powers in place.
All too often, individuals fail to make the appropriate arrangements for their long-term needs prior to becoming unable to do so. At the Law Offices of The Elder Law Firm PC, we focus on creating a long-term care plan for you that both meets your individual needs and protects your interests. We have the skills and knowledge to delve into the facts your case, consider all available options, and determine the best course of action for your situation. Call your Michigan long-term care attorneys at (877) 933-7252 and schedule your free consultation today.