As you think about creating an estate plan, it’s important to consider the possibility that the day may come when injury or illness prevents you from communicating. If this happens, knowing that someone you trust is making decisions on your behalf is a major comfort. In order to legally give someone else the power to make decisions on your behalf, you’ll need to form a power of attorney. At the law office of van der Veen, Hartshorn and Levin, our lawyers are available to help with your Reading power of attorney.
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What Is a Power of Attorney?
A power of attorney is a signed, legal document that gives someone else the legal ability to make decisions on your behalf when you are unable to make those decisions yourself because you are incapacitated. There are two common types of powers of attorney:
- Healthcare power of attorney. A healthcare power of attorney gives another person the right to make decisions about your health and medical care when you have not otherwise specified what your wishes are. For example, if there is a question about whether or not to perform a certain surgery type or use feeding tubes, and you have not addressed those in other legal documents (i.e. your living will/advance directive), then the person to whom you’ve given power of attorney can make those decisions.
- A financial power of attorney. Similarly, a financial power of attorney can make decisions about your finances and other business matters. Say, for example, you are a business owner. During the time that you are incapacitated and unable to communicate, another company makes an offer to buy your business. Your financial power of attorney would be authorized to act on your behalf during that process.
Forming a Power of Attorney
Forming a power of attorney is a relatively easy process in Reading. All that needs to happen is that the principal–who is the person who is creating the power of attorney–needs to choose the agent–the person who is given power of attorney–and then sign and date the power of attorney document. The document signing should be witnessed by two people, as well as notarized. Oftentimes, a template exists that all parties will need to sign.
Much more difficult than forming the power of attorney itself, though, is choosing who you want to serve as your power of attorney. It’s important that you select someone who you trust to act within your best interests and to follow your wishes, as well as someone who’s generally reliable and dependable. In selecting someone, have an honest conversation about what your wishes are in the event that you are incapacitated or disabled.
Call Our Reading Estate Planning Attorneys Today
At the law office of van der Veen, Hartshorn & Levin, our Reading estate planning and power of attorney lawyers can answer all of your questions about forming a power of attorney, as well as other documents that should be a part of your estate plan.
Please call our lawyers today for the legal support you need.