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All Powers of Attorney are NOT Created Equal

Do it right from the beginning. Powers of attorney need to be tailored to your needs to address all of your assets and income sources.

If you believe a durable power of attorney is just a “form”, you may find this to be an incorrect and expensive assumption. An improperly drafted durable power of attorney may result in a guardianship that can cost tens of thousands of dollars and a loss in privacy.

A power of attorney is an extremely important document which may be implemented if you become physically, mentally or cognitively incapacitated and you need someone else to make your financial decisions. “Durable” means the agent will be able to act even if you are subsequently disabled or incapacitated.

A board certified attorney understands, for example, that the Florida law changed in October 2014, so that if you want to delegate high levels of financial authority, then they must be specified. Such “powers” may include:

  • gift/transfer the assets to himself and/or others
  • changing beneficiaries on bank accounts or insurance
  • entering contracts to sell property
  • applying for government benefits

are all only permitted if the power of attorney specifically grants the agent the authority to do so.

We have found that it is a common mistake to think that one has executed a power of attorney with broad powers. The failure to include certain authorities can result in the agent not being able to take the steps necessary for the principal to be eligible for Medicaid (home care and/or nursing home) and/or reduce potential estate tax liability.

It would be wise to consider situations tailored to you that go beyond what’s typically found on most power of attorney “forms”. Language that permits the agent to create either a revocable and/or irrevocable trust on behalf of the principal may be a valuable power for both estate and long-term care planning, in many cases savings of hundreds of thousands of dollars – provided it is right for you and your circumstances.

Schedule your consultation with Stephanie L. Schneider, Board Certified Elder Law Attorney today to learn how we can guide your through the elder law maze and create estate & long term care planning documents to achieve your goals for you and your loved one’s peace of mind.

Avoid surprises. All durable powers of attorney are not created equal and one size does not fit all.

We are your trusted planning advisor through life.℠

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