On today’s ElderCareMatters.com a New York Elder Law Attorney answers family’s question about Power of Attorney

Question:  Would  you please provide our family with some information about a Power of  Attorney?

Answer:   Below are 10 Q&As about a Power of Attorney that will help you further understand this legal document:

1. What is a Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney is a legal document in which you can appoint an agent to make financial transactions on your behalf if you are not present to make these transactions.

2. What is the difference between a Power of Attorney and an Executor?

A Power of Attorney is in effect only during your lifetime. An Executor takes over the management of your estate upon your death. You name the Executor in your Will.

3. What is a durable Power of Attorney?

A durable Power of Attorney states that the Power will be in force even if you become disabled.

4. How do I appoint an agent?

The Power of Attorney form is a form that must be signed before a Notary Public.

5. What powers can I give to my agent in the Power of Attorney?

The form lists the areas of authority that you delegate. These include real estate transactions, banking transactions and insurance transactions, to name a few. However, the Power of Attorney does not in itself authorize the agent to make unlimited gifts.

6. How can I authorize my agent to make gifts?

A Power of Attorney can be personalized to indicate the authority to make gifts and the limits, if any, on this authority.

7. My bank has its own Power of Attorney Form. Do I need it?

A general Power of Attorney must be honored by banks. However, they sometimes are reluctant to honor them, so if you can sign the bank form, it is often easier for the agent to make transactions later on.

8. Whom should I appoint as my agent?

You should appoint only someone whom you trust explicitly. You may also appoint two people acting together as an additional safeguard.

9. If any accounts and house are all jointly held, do I need a Power of Attorney?

The joint accounts should be able to be accessed without the Power, but for real estate, a Power of Attorney will be needed.

10. Can I appoint my agent so that he or she has authority only if I become incapacitated?

The Power of Attorney is not valid for an agent appointed until he or she has signed the Power of Attorney before a Notary Public. You may execute the Power of Attorney but not have your agent sign until you are incapacitated.

If you need help with your Elder Care Matters, you can find Elder Law Attorneys near you on ElderCareMatters.com and on ElderLawAttorneys.us – two online Elder Care resources that are sponsored by the national ElderCare Matters Alliance.

An ElderCare Matters Partner
Joan Lensky Robert, Esq.

Kassoff, Robert & Lerner, LLP
Rockville Centre, NY  11570
An ElderCare Matters Partner

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