Brooklyn Powers of Attorney Lawyer

A power of attorney is a good document to execute as it will help protect your financial affairs and property in the event you become incapacitated. It is not necessary for you to be wealthy. If you have any property or an income, it is important that you have a power of attorney to property these important assets. A power of attorney is a legal document in which you as the principal name another person to be your agent or attorney-in-fact. Your agent will have the authority to perform certain business transactions when you are unable to do so yourself. There are many circumstances that a power of attorney may come in handy. For example, if you are required to be at a real estate closing on a particular day in order to buy or sell property, but you must be out of town on that day, you can delegate authority to your agent to close the real estate transaction for you. Or, if you can give your agent authority to act for you in the event you become mentally incapacitated due to a terrible accident or a serious illness. If you are contemplating executing a power of attorney, first contact an experienced Brooklyn Powers of Attorney Lawyer who will explain to you the legal and financial ramifications of granting a power of attorney, and who will ensure that your power of attorney is drafted consistent with the requirements of New York law.

When would a power of attorney go into effect?

As the principal, you decide when the power of attorney will go into effect. Conventional powers of attorney go into effect on the date that it is fully executed. However, a power of attorney can also go into effect only upon the occurrence of a certain event, such as you becoming incapacitated. This type of power of attorney is called a springing power of attorney. This type of power of attorney is quite effective to for estate planning purposes as it allows you to execute a power of attorney immediately for the purposes of making sure your financial affairs or cared for if you become incapacitated at some unknown time in the future. It allows you to retain control over your affairs while you are competent.

What authority will my agent have?

Your agent will have whatever authority you choose to grand him or her. If you execute a power of attorney to give your agent the authority to act for you in the event that you become incapacitated, you may decide to grant your agent broad power to handle all of your finances. However, you can give your agent limited power. Examples of authority you may give your agent include authority related to:

  • real estate transactions
  • chattel and good transactions
  • bond, share and commodity transactions
  • banking transactions
  • business operating transactions
  • insurance transactions
  • estate transactions
  • claims and litigation
  • benefits from military service
  • retirement benefits transactions
  • tax matters

At all times your agent is legally required to act in your best interests, keep accurate records, keep your property separate from his or hers, and avoid conflicts of interest.

Making a Power of Attorney

New York has specific laws covering what is required to make a power of attorney. In order to properly execute a durable power of attorney, the document must be written and executed as required by New York General Obligations Law:

  • The document must be legible.
  • You as the principal must sign end date it.
  • The person who are naming as your agent must also sign it.
  • The power of attorney must also contain certain statutory cautionary language

NY GOB Law § 5-1501B

When a Power of Attorney Ends

A power of attorney always ends automatically upon your death. The person charged with handling your affairs once you pass away is the executor you name in your will. If you would like the person you name as your agent in your power of attorney to also manage your estate once you pass away, then you should also name that person as your executor.

Your power of attorney also ends if:

  • You revoke it. You can revoke or terminate your power of attorney at any time as long as you are mentally competent.
  • Your agent is no longer available. If your agent dies, becomes mentally incompetent or no longer willing to act as your agent, your agent's authority terminates. To avoid problems presented by your agent becoming available, you should name a successor or alternate agent.
  • You become incapacitated. If your power of attorney is not durable, meaning that it specifically states that it terminates if you become incapacitated, then if you do become incapacitated the authority of your agent ends.
Power of Attorney for Health Care

Powers of attorney can be executed not only for financial matters but also for health care matters. In New York a durable power of attorney for health care is called a health care proxy. In the case of a health care proxy, your health care agent would have the authority to make health care decisions for you in the event you are unable to do so yourself. In addition to appointing someone to be your health care agent, with your health care proxy you can also leave instructions regarding your treatment as well as other health care related issues. For examples you can leave instructions as to:

  • Whether or not you want to be resuscitated if your breathing or heart stops
  • Whether or not you want other life prolonging treatments such as artificial hydration and nutrition
  • Which long-term care facility you would prefer
  • The type of health care and long term care insurance you have
  • Whether or not you would like your organs and tissues donated

If other health care issues arise that are not addressed in your health care proxy or living will, then your health care agent would have the authority to make those decisions.

Part of estate planning is planning for a time in your life where you are unable to take care of your affairs. A power of attorney is important to ensure the continuity of your everyday affairs when you are incapacitated or unavailable for some other reason. While a power of attorney may seem as if it is a straight forward document, because of the consequences of having a poorly completed power of attorney or one that is not properly executed it is important to work closely with an experienced power of attorney lawyer. The staff at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC as years of experience representing clients who need estate planning documents such as powers of attorney as well as will, trusts, and advanced health care directives. Contact us at 1.800.NY.NY.LAW (1.800.696.9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your estate plan. We serve individuals throughout the following locations:

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