Power of Attorney Lawyers in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
No one wants to think about the possibility of losing their physical or mental capacity to make important decisions about their health or manage their financial or legal affairs on their own. We would like to believe that we will always be capable of making decisions on our own.
While it is great that you are in good health and of sound mind now, things could change dramatically and unexpectedly. Some people experience a gradual deterioration in physical or mental health, while others may become physically or mentally incapacitated because of a sudden event such as a car accident.
It is always best to be prepared for everything, and a power of attorney can help ensure that your wishes regarding healthcare and financial matters will be carried out even if you lose your capacity. Our power of attorney lawyers at Richard L. Vanderslice, P.C. are prepared to help you navigate the complexities of estate planning. We provide legal counsel in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and throughout Philadelphia County, Montgomery County, and Delaware County.
What Is a Power of Attorney?
A power of attorney is a critical tool in an estate plan. This legal document allows you to authorize another individual to act on your behalf and make decisions regarding your medical, legal, and/or financial matters in the event of your incapacity.
The person who creates a power of attorney (POA) is called the principal, while the person authorized to act on the principal’s behalf is known as their agent. Many people choose to create both a healthcare POA and a financial POA, which allow another person to make medical and financial decisions, respectively, on their behalf.
POAs are also categorized into four types:
Limited Power of Attorney — As its name implies, this type of POA gives the agent authority to act on the principal’s behalf for a limited purpose and for a limited amount of time. The limitations are specified in the document.
General Power of Attorney — Unlike limited POAs, general POAs are wider in their scope because they give the agent broad authorizations.
Durable Power of Attorney — A durable POA can be either general or limited. The main purpose of creating a durable power of attorney is that the document remains effective even if the principal becomes incapacitated. A durable POA is terminated if the principal dies or the document is revoked.
Springing Power of Attorney — This type of POA does not become effective until after the principal is rendered incapacitated. Once the principal becomes incapacitated and the POA springs into effect, the document will remain effective until the principal’s death.
Why Do You Need a Power of Attorney?
A power of attorney can be a helpful document in the event you become unable to manage your affairs on your own because of a sudden illness, accident, or gradual physical or mental decline due to old age.
When you lose your physical or mental capacity, your family may have no authority to access your money or manage your business or financial affairs. More importantly, without a power of attorney, your loved ones may not be able to make critical decisions related to your healthcare if you become unable to communicate your wishes.
By creating a power of attorney, you can be certain that the people you love and trust will have the authority to manage your business and legal affairs and have access to your finances and property.
Choosing a Power of Attorney
When considering who to appoint as your agent in a power of attorney, you do not necessarily need to choose a relative. Characteristics to look for when choosing a power of attorney include:
The person lives nearby.
The person is trustworthy.
The person is able to control his or her emotions.
The person can make tough decisions in stressful situations.
The person respects your opinion and beliefs (i.e., the person will honor your wishes when making decisions on your behalf).
When creating a power of attorney, you may also want to consider appointing a successor agent who will serve as a backup agent if the primary agent becomes incapacitated or dies.
Power of Attorney Lawyers
Serving Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
At Richard L. Vanderslice, P.C., we understand that a power of attorney is a crucial element of a comprehensive estate plan. Our power of attorney lawyers in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, help clients craft POAs and other estate planning documents to protect their legacy and ensure that their needs are met. We also provide counsel to clients in Philadelphia, Delaware, and Montgomery counties. If you need a power of attorney tailored to your specific needs, goals, and wishes, contact us today.