What is a Durable Financial Power of Attorney?

Last week we explained what a Georgia Advance Directive for Healthcare is and why you should have one.  To create a comprehensive estate plan, you need several documents. To be fully protected and have your financial wishes followed, you should also have a Durable Financial Power of Attorney.

One major component of a complete estate plan is a General Durable Power of Attorney for Financial Matters.

Although important, the financial Power of Attorney is often misunderstood.

A financial Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows you to name someone to handle your finances — taxes, bills, bank accounts, real estate sales, and more.  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 Power of Attorney 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.  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.

As mentioned, creating a complete estate plan that includes a Power of Attorney can help you avoid complicated legal situations such as a Conservatorship.  Many clients who come to us for Conservatorship urgently require 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 Power of Attorney is an essential part of a complete estate plan (even if you never plan to get ill or injured). As they say, better to be pennywise than pound foolish!

In 2017 Georgia adopted a version of the Uniform Power of Attorney Act. What does this mean?

Even if you have a Power of Attorney, 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. In addition to your situation and needs changing, the law changes.

While a Power of Attorney that was executed prior to the new law is still valid, there are extended protections and powers that are only available under the newer statute. It is certainly worth revisiting your Power of Attorney if yours was executed prior to the implementation of the new law. Click here to learn more about the Uniform Power of Attorney Act.

To get started with your complete estate plan, contact Hurley Elder Care Law at (404) 843-0121 for a complimentary phone consultation with our intake specialist.

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