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New York Attorney-In-Fact

A power of attorney is a legal document that designates specific legal authority to another person. The person granted the power of attorney is referred to an "agent" or “attorney-in-fact.” While a power of attorney is often used to ensure that his (or her) personal and financial affairs are cared for when the principal has become mentally incapacitated, a power of attorney can be used to accomplish a variety of different goals. Because of the potentially wide-ranging impact a power of attorney can have on your estate, before you execute any type of power of attorney, contact an experienced New York attorney-in-fact lawyer who can help you determine which type of power of attorney is appropriate for your circumstances and make sure that it is properly drafted and executed.

Types of powers of attorney

Powers of attorney can be categorized into 4 main types: limited, general, durable and springing.

  • Limited Power of Attorney. With a limited power of attorney you give your attorney-in-fact the authority to act for you for only a very limited, specific purpose. For instance, if legal papers need to be executed on a certain day, but you have to be out of town on that day, your New York attorney-in-fact lawyer can create a power of attorney for you to execute that gives someone the authority to execute those papers for you. The power of attorney document will specify the limited purpose of the power of attorney and when the authority ends. Limited powers of attorney are often used for real estate transaction. For example, if you cannot attend a real estate closing you could execute a limited power of attorney giving your attorney-in-fact the authority to execute documents on your behalf only at that real estate closing.
  • General Power of Attorney. In contrast to a limited power of attorney a general power of attorney gives your attorney-in-fact comprehensive authority to act for you. For example, if you want someone else to have the authority to handle all of your financial affairs such as paying your bills, buying and selling securities for you, and handling your banking for you, then you would execute a general power of attorney. A general power of attorney is terminated when you rescind it, when you die, or when you become incapacitated.
  • Durable Power of Attorney. A durable power of attorney can be either general or limited. However, a durable power of attorney remains in effect when you become incapacitated. For example, if you are injured in a terrible car accident that leaves you with a serious traumatic brain injury, a durable power of attorney will give you attorney-in-fact the authority to take care of your finances. In New York a durable power of attorney for health care is called a “health care proxy,” and the agent is referred to as a “health care agent” rather than an “attorney-in-fact.” As an experienced New York attorney-in-fact lawyer will explain, one of the reasons that it is important to have a durable power of attorney in place is that in the absence of one, the court may have to step in and appoint a guardian to care for your affairs should you become incapacitated. Your attorney-in-fact will retain power under your durable power of attorney until your death or until you are no longer incapacitated.
  • Springing power of attorney. A springing power of attorney is one that only becomes effective upon the occurrence of a triggering event. For example, triggering event could be the principal becoming incapacitated.
Powers delegated to an attorney-in-fact

When you execute a power of attorney, there is a wide range of authority that you may give your attorney-in-fact. Of course with a general power of attorney you give comprehensive power. However, with a limited power of attorney you can be more specific as to what you attorney-in-fact can do for you. In addition, a power of attorney can be just for finances or just for personal issues such as health care (health care proxy). If you give your attorney-in-fact a power of attorney for your finances, that authority could include the authority to:

  • Real estate transactions
  • Chattel and goods transactions
  • Bond, share, and commodity transactions
  • Banking transactions
  • Business operating transactions
  • Insurance transactions
  • Estate transactions
  • Claims and litigation
  • Benefits from governmental programs or civil or military service
  • Health care billing and payment matters; records, reports, and statements
  • Retirement benefit transactions
  • Tax matters
Terminating an attorney-in-fact’s authority

Depending on the type of power of attorney and its purpose, it terminates upon the happening of at least of the following events:

  • The death of the principal
  • The principal becomes incapacitated. However, if the power of attorney is durable, does not terminate when the principal becomes incapacitated. In addition, as an attorney-in-fact attorney in New York will explain, in New York a power of attorney is automatically durable unless there is language in the document indicating that it is not durable.
  • The principal rescinds the power of attorney
  • The expiration date stated in the power of attorney
  • The purpose of the power of attorney is accomplished
  • The person named as the attorney-in-fact is no longer willing or able to act as attorney-in-fact
Failure to appoint an attorney-in-fact

If you do not execute a durable power of attorney for finances and you become incapacitated, your family will have a difficult time making sure that your financial affairs are proper cared for. The result may be that your estate will suffer losses while your family is awaits the appointment of a guardian.

Similarly, if you have not executed a health care proxy, there may not be any one with the legal authority to make healthcare decisions for you should you become incapacitated and unable to speak for yourself. This may result in treatment decisions being made for you by your doctors or by a court appointed guardian that you would not have made.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

Naming someone to serve as your attorney-in-fact through a power of attorney can provide an agent with the power to make important decisions regarding your property, taxes, real estate, and other financial matters at times when you are unable to make those decisions for yourself. It is important that your power of attorney is custom crafted for you and your specific goals. The experienced attorney-in-fact attorneys serving New York at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have the knowledge and skill to ensure that your power of attorney is executed in a manner that is consistent with the law and your needs. In addition, we can assist with health care proxies, living wills, and other estate documents that are needed for a comprehensive estate plan. Contact us at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: Queens, Long Island, Staten Island, Bronx, Westchester County, Nassau County, Suffolk County, Manhattan, and Brooklyn.

Client Reviews
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Mr. Bilkis handled both my father and mother's estate issues through very difficult times he was compassionate kind and understanding. In fact the whole firm showed great empathy. Despite the emotional hard time we were having that quickly and efficiently handle all the matters that were necessary to get us the result we desired. Can't recommend them enough. B.B.
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