In the past couple of weeks, we have discussed the importance of having a Will and a Georgia Advance Directive for Healthcare. Although those documents are certainly highly recommended and extremely helpful in most situations, we believe one of the most important (and often misunderstood) legal documents is the General Durable Power of Attorney for Financial Matters . All three of these documents working together will give you a comprehensive estate plan.
What is a General Durable Power of Attorney for Financial Matters?
A General Durable Power of Attorney (GDPOA) is a legal document that allows you to name someone to handle your finances — taxes, bills, bank accounts, real estate sales, and more. The word ‘Durable’ will allow someone you trust to step in and act on your behalf should you become unable. It can help protect your wishes, provide for ongoing financial management of your affairs, and ease the financial disruption that can follow an illness or accident. This legal document is one of the ways to plan for incapacity.
Everyone over the age of 18 should have a complete and properly executed financial Power of Attorney
Without a GDPOA in place, there may be no simple way for someone to access your financial accounts or handle your affairs should you become unable to handle your own affairs. No one likes thinking about their own (or their loved one’s) potential incapacity or experiencing a catastrophic injury. But unfortunately, many of us will find ourselves in need of a financial agent—someone to step into our shoes and act on our behalf for all financial matters.
Avoiding a Conservatorship
Creating a complete estate plan that includes a financial Power of Attorney can help you avoid complicated legal situations that include Conservatorship. Many clients who come to us for Conservatorship have to retain our services simply because a financial Power of Attorney was never created. A bit of preplanning before a crisis can make a big difference. It may seem like an unnecessary hassle and expense when you’re healthy and of sound mind but having a GDPOA is an essential part of a complete estate plan (even if you never plan to get ill or injured) and often ends up saving time and money in the end.
Even if you have one, it may need to be updated. Georgia updated the Power of Attorney laws in 2017. Powers of Attorney are not “set it and forget it” documents. Your situation as well as choice of an agent can change from time to time. Choosing an agent should be done carefully. Here’s how and why.
Call Hurley Elder Care Law at 404-843-0121 today to discuss how you can get started on creating your estate plan.
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