A power of attorney is a written document that allows you to appoint another person that you trust to act on your behalf in financial matters. Additionally, the power of attorney allows you to choose who your agent will be and what their powers will be. Of course, you do not lose the right to make those financial decisions for yourself. There are many reasons why a person, even if they are young and healthy, should have a power of attorney. A power of attorney appoints someone to manage your financial affairs, which is important if you ever are unable to manage your affairs or if you become temporarily or permanently incapacitated. If an emergency happens, there is someone with authority to make decisions. The future is unpredictable, and it’s a good idea to have this document in place to avoid the need to petition the court to have a guardian and/or conservator appointed for you. A power of attorney is also less expensive and less time consuming than having to go through guardianship and conservatorship proceedings. It is also a good idea to update who your agent will be in the event of a separation or divorce. The act of filing for divorce will terminate the agent’s authority if the named agent is your spouse, but it is a better idea to execute new documents and revoke the spouse’s authority as agent.
Written by Heather W. Winter, Esquire