Navigating Life's Uncertainties: Understanding the Power of Attorney

Last Updated 7/26/2023

At Advocate Fiduciary Services, we've spent over five decades guiding clients through the intricate maze of legal and financial decision-making. One tool that we believe is indispensable in this journey is the Power of Attorney (POA). Today, we want to explore the reasons why you should consider designating a POA and the flexibility it offers in managing your affairs. 

Understanding the Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney is more than just a legal document. It's a lifeline, a safeguard that ensures your wishes are honored, even when you might not be able to express them yourself. As the Principal, you have the power to appoint an Agent or Attorney-in-Fact to act on your behalf. Contrary to common misconceptions, you don't lose control of your decision-making or assets once an Attorney-in-Fact is appointed. The POA only activates if you become mentally incapable of managing your own affairs.

The Versatile Roles of a POA
A POA serves three main roles:
  • Making decisions on behalf of someone who has lost their mental capacity.
  • Handling legal and financial matters on behalf of the principal.
  • Making medical decisions on behalf of the principal.
The scope of these roles can be as broad or as specific as you decide, providing significant flexibility in how your affairs are managed.

Medical and Financial Decisions
A healthcare POA grants your agent the authority to make decisions about your medical care, select your care providers, and even decide where you live and who bathes you. The aim is always to honor your wishes and ensure your well-being.
Similarly, a Durable Financial Power of Attorney enables an agent to manage your finances if you become incapacitated. This role can extend from paying bills and filing taxes to making investment decisions and managing property. Again, the extent of these powers is decided by you, the Principal.

The Limitations of a POA
While a POA offers considerable flexibility, it does have limitations. An agent cannot change your will, break their fiduciary duty to act in your best interest, make decisions after your death, or transfer the POA to someone else.

The Power of Flexibility
A POA allows you to be as specific as you want. You can define the powers you grant, which can include managing finances, real estate, or any individual affair you choose to include.

The Need for a POA: A Message to Senior Citizens
Incapacitation can occur at any life stage, but it's crucial for senior citizens to establish a POA before physical deterioration or mental incapacity occurs. A timely POA ensures your personal affairs are managed according to your wishes, preventing potential complications, especially in cases of inadequate estate planning. The Value of Assigning Decision-Making Powers Assigning decision-making capabilities to a trusted family member or friend, especially through durable POAs, can save caregiving family members and friends a great deal of time and frustration. For this reason, every individual should consider establishing a POA.

At Your Service
At Advocate Fiduciary Services, we stand by our commitment to helping families resolve legal challenges and regain control of their lives. We offer the guidance and support you need when navigating the legal system. With integrity, professionalism, leadership, and teamwork at the core of our operations, we're dedicated to serving and protecting our clients and their assets.

In conclusion, the establishment of a Power of Attorney is a proactive step towards ensuring your wishes are respected, regardless of what life may bring. It's not just about planning for uncertainties; it's about maintaining control and ensuring your legacy is protected. To learn more about establishing a POA or for further assistance with your fiduciary needs, please reach out to us at Advocate Fiduciary Services. We're here to assist you through every stage of your life.

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Remember, your financial health and peace of mind are our priorities.
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