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Understanding Power of Attorney

What Exactly Is POA?

While you may be healthy and young right now, it's important not to ignore asking the question "do I need a will?" It's imperative to understand the strength and power of documents like a trust or power of attorney. These documents are designed to protect you and / or those you love.

Power of Attorney

A power of attorney is a legal document that gives someone, identified as the principal, the authority to act on your behalf in medical, legal and financial matters.

A power of attorney is used in the unfortunate event that you're incapacitated to the degree that you can not handle your own affairs. Additionally, there is some terminology you should be familiar with If you decide to prepare a power a attorney,:

  • "Durable" - This designation allows your agent to act on your behalf regardless of your health, but it doesn't allow him or her to make health decisions on your behalf. It is immediate and you can revoke this at any time.
  • "Non durable" - It's usually for very specific situations, like a real estate transaction that the principal can't be present at. Once the transaction is complete, the agent loses power of attorney. This designation is limited in time.
  • "Springing" - In this situation, the agent gains authority only if you become incompetent or disabled.

The Scope of an Agent's Authority

The following are ways an agent can act on a principal's behalf, according to a power of attorney:

  • Handle tax matters
  • Invest principal's portfolio in stocks, bonds, and mutual funds
  • Make healthcare decisions
  • Manage banking transactions for the principal
  • Operate the principal's small business
  • To manage the principal's property

You can give a lot of power to your agent, so make sure you think it through. Take the time to select the right person and decide how much authority you will grant them via your drafted power of attorney.

Contact Us Today

If you have questions about New York laws, we can help. Contact the office of Hall, Ricketts, Schuller & Gurbacki, P.C. online or call 716-652-0828 for experienced, ethical, understanding and responsive assistance with all your legal needs in the greater Buffalo, NY area.

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Hall, Ricketts, Schuller & Gurbacki, P.C.
471 Main Street
East Aurora, NY 14052

Phone: 716-243-3515
Fax: 716-652-2058
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