New York Durable Power of Attorney
A Durable Power of Attorney is one of the most important documents to have in your overall estate plan. This document appoints an individual (called an agent, or Attorney-in-Fact), to make decisions and act on your behalf to manage your affairs. These powers can be very broad and can include everything from health care matters, personal business and finances (General Power of Attorney). Conversely, the document can be drafted for a specific purpose, known as a limited Power of Attorney. The term “durable” means that the document remains in effect regardless as to a lapse in time, or the subsequent incapacity of the principal. These documents are very important and should be approached carefully, as the agent is granted a large degree of power over your well-being and your estate. It is important to contact a knowledgeable New York Durable Power of Attorney Lawyer to assist you in creating this document and ensuring that your rights are adequately protected.
Recent changes have been made to NY law governing Powers of Attorney. These changes include language requirements, how the document is signed, and other formalities. With the amendments to the New York General Obligations Law, a Power of Attorney is now considered durable, unless it is specifically stated that it is terminated by the incapacity of the principal. There are many other pertinent changes as well. If you are contemplating a new Durable Power of Attorney, or have an existing document that you would like updated, it is important to contact a New York Estate Lawyer to assist you with this process. It is important to ensure that your document is compliant with the most recent laws and that your estate is protected.
While these documents can be used in a variety of scenarios, the two most common uses are for health care and financial concerns. A Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care is used when a person appoints an agent to handle their health care in the event they are unable to do so due to incapacity. Once created, this document will not take effect until you are deemed to be incapacitated. Incapacity means that you are unable to understand the consequences of your health care decisions, or you are unable to communicate them. The document will be in effect as long as you are living, unless you revoke it (which you can do anytime), or a court invalidates it.
Another common use of a Durable Power of Attorney is for management of your finances. This document, similar to the one described above, appoints an agent to handle your financial affairs. This document can go into effect as soon as you sign it, or you can create a springing Power of Attorney. This type of document allows you to remain in control of your affairs until you are incapacitated. Once you are deemed incapable of handling your affairs, the document “springs” into effect. This document will automatically terminate at the time of your death. Otherwise it can be terminated if you specifically revoke it (while you are mentally competent), if you become divorced and your spouse was named as your agent, or the court steps in and invalidates your document.
A Durable Power of Attorney is an important document to have in place, and is also a key component to a comprehensive estate plan. Contact the offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC and speak to an experienced New York Probate Lawyer for guidance. Whether you need a Will and/or Trust, or you have an Estate Administration issue, or Probate Litigation matter, we are here to lend assistance. We will provide you with a free case consultation with your first appointment. Contact us at 800.696.9529. No matter where you are in New York, we have an office near you including Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens, as well as Long Island, Nassau County and Suffolk County and Westchester County.