Have you considered what would happen if you lost your ability to make decisions about your finances due to an illness or accident?
A power of attorney document will help your family understand your wishes should such a tragedy strike, making a traumatic time a little bit easier on them. If you become incapacitated without a power of attorney in place, your family might squabble over who should take control. They might even have to initiate expensive conservatorship proceedings in order to appoint an agent. There’s no doubt that the small bit of time and money spent to create a legally binding power of attorney in Massachusetts is worthwhile. The Botelho Law Group is a top estate planning attorney in Fall River, Massachusetts. Call (888) 269-0988 to schedule a free confidential consultation.
What is Power Of Attorney?
A power of attorney is a legally binding document where you assign a friend or family member to act on your behalf if you become physically or mentally incapacitated. The document must be signed while you have capacity, but will not take effect until you have lost the capacity to make your own decisions. These are some of the typical powers assigned with a power of attorney in Massachusetts:
- Hiring and Firing: Lawyers, doctors, accountants, household help, etc.
- Litigation: You can empower your agent to settle lawsuits on your behalf.
- Estate Planning
- Managing stock and bond portfolios
You can be broad or narrow, and you can have more than one power of attorney. For example, you might empower one family member to take care of the routine tasks such as paying the rent and the cleaning lady, and a different relative to manage your stock and bond portfolio. That said, most married couples will give the full power of attorney to their spouse.
Ordinary vs. Durable Powers of Attorney in Massachusetts
An “ordinary” or “general” power of attorney is used to appoint agents to temporarily act on your behalf for situations such as signing legal documents on your behalf. This type of power of attorney provides an end date and becomes ineffective when the creator of the power of attorney incapacitated. The type of power of attorney that’s useful for estate planning is called a “durable power of attorney” intended specifically to be used if you become incapacitated. It must contain language such as “this power of attorney becomes effective upon the disability of the creator.” The powers created in the power of attorney will have no effect until you’re incapacitated. If you have physical limitations and would like to empower a relative to handle some of your financial matters while you retain capacity for convenience, you can have both an ordinary and a durable power of attorney, but they must be separate documents. The Botelho Law Group is a top estate planning attorney in Fall River Massachusett, with a great deal of experience working with clients creating power of attorney documents. Call (888) 269-0988 to schedule a free confidential consultation.
Selecting A Person To Be Your Agent
It’s crucial to choose somebody that you trust to act in your interests, even if they have no legal or financial background. A bright person can consult with professionals about whatever comes up, helping them to make the right decisions. It’s also important to choose somebody that has the ability to handle the stress of making decisions for you during your capacity, and enough time available to do the job properly. Some types of incapacity are not permanent, so it’s important that the right decisions are made to protect your assets, credit score, real estate and business. If you have a falling out with the person you’ve chosen as your agent while you still retain capacity, you can revoke the document by destroying all copies and notifying all persons and businesses that have received it. The experienced team at Botelho Law Group can help you choose the right person to be your agent. Call (888) 269-0988 to schedule a free confidential consultation.
Massachusetts and Rhode Island Estate Planning Law Firm
The Botelho Law Group prides itself in helping people make the right estate planning decisions. We can help you choose an agent from among your family and friends, and draft a durable power of attorney documents that protect you during incapacity, and avoid the need for costly conservatorship proceedings. Call (888) 269-0988 to schedule a free confidential consultation.
Joseph F. Botelho, Esq.
BOTELHO LAW GROUP
Attorneys At Law
901 Eastern Ave.
Fall River, MA 02723