Nassau County Durable Power of Attorney

While most of us are familiar with wills and trust being important parts of estate planning, a power of attorney is another important tool. With a power of attorney you as the principal would grant to another person, known as your "agent" or "attorney-in-fact," the authority to act on your behalf with respect to your financial matters or your personal or healthcare matters. Generally a power of attorney ends when the principal becomes mentally incompetent or upon the principal’s death. However, unless it specially states otherwise a New York power of attorney is durable. This means that that the authority given to the agent remains in effect even if you become mentally incapacitated. It will remain in effect while you are incapacitated and until your death. NY GOB LAW § 5-1501A. To learn more about how to makes sure your wished are honored in the event that you become mentally incapacitated, contact an experienced Nassau County estate planning attorney who will explain to you the mechanics of how powers of attorney works and how one would fit into you overall estate plan.

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Authority given in power of attorney

Powers of attorney are extremely powerful documents. You can give a wide range of powers to your agent. With respect to financial matters examples of powers that you can delegate include:

  • Pay your bills including any bill you had before you became incapacitated such as your credit card bills, utility bills, and making loan payments.
  • Manage your real estate including paying your mortgage, making repairs and improvements, and selling it.
  • Pay taxes you owe such as federal, state and city taxes.
  • Manage your bank accounts including making deposits, withdrawals and transfers.
  • Purchase insurance policies for you
  • Run your business for you including paying bills, executing contracts, and hiring and firing employees.
  • Manage your investments

With a power of attorney for healthcare, you can grant someone the authority to:

  • Consent to or refuse particular treatments such as blood transfusions, medication, and surgery.
  • Consent to or refuse life extending procedures such as CPR.
  • Make decisions about organ donation
  • Become your guardian

Regardless of the specific authority that you grant with your power of attorney, the agent has the legal obligation to act in your best interest and not in his or her best interest.

Executing a durable power of attorney

In order to properly execute a power of attorney New York law requires specific formalities that.

  • Legible. The power of attorney must be legible.
  • Signed. You as the principal must sign, date it and your signature must be acknowledged. It must also be signed and dated by the agent named in the power of attorney.
  • Statutory language. Furthermore, there is certain statutory language that must be included in the power of attorney in order for it to comply with New York law. NY GOB LAW § 5-1501B.

A durable power of attorney typically becomes effective on the date that the agent's signature is acknowledged. However, you can make the power of attorney "springing." This means that the authority in the power of attorney becomes effective when the “springing” event occurs such as you becoming incapacitated.

Termination of authority conveyed in a durable power of attorney

You can revoke a durable power of attorney any time as long as you are competent. The authority in a durable power of attorney will be terminated if you again become competent. Revocation of a durable power of attorney occurs automatically if you pass away, the purpose of the power of attorney is accomplished, or the agent dies or becomes incapacitated. NY GOB LAW § 5-1511.

Upon your death, the winding up of your affairs and administering your estate is the job of the executor named in your will. If you want the person who you name as your agent in your durable power of attorney to also handle your affairs after your pass away, you must also name that person in your will as your executor.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

As you consider how to plan for your future and the possibility that at some point you may become incapacitated due to an illness or accident, it is important to consult someone with experience who understands the legal issues related to durable power of attorneys. In addition, as with all of your estate planning documents, you should periodically revisit your durable power of attorney to make sure the person you have named as your agent remains your choice and that that person is willing and able to take on the responsibility. To learn more about the advantages of a durable power of attorney as well as other estate planning tools, contact Stephen Bilkis and Associates. We will help you develop an overall estate plan that reflects your individual goals. Contact us at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your estate plan.

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