Power of Attorney Lawyer in Arizona
Power of Attorney
You may have already made important decisions about your health care matters or what you want done with your estate when you die. But what will happen if you become incapacitated?
This could happen due to a head injury, a degenerative neurological disease like dementia, or some other life-changing event. Without proper preparation, your family might not know whether you would want to prolong your medical treatment. Your family might also be unsure about the distribution of your assets.
You can avoid these potential problems by granting someone you trust with a power of attorney. Brown & Hobkirk, PLLC has put together a guide to explain what a power of attorney is, how it works, and what its benefits are.
At Brown & Hobkirk, PLLC we have spent more than 20 years helping our clients establish and designate powers of attorney. We can help you craft a personalized legal strategy that fits your unique needs and wishes.
For more information, call our office today to schedule a consultation. You can also visit our online contact page.
What Is a Power of Attorney?
A power of attorney is a legal document that authorizes someone else to make decisions on your behalf. A power of attorney can give someone fairly broad powers over your affairs and finances. It can also address decisions about your medical care in the event you become incapacitated.
Understanding the Types of Power of Attorney
Your lawyer can fully explain the options for various types of power of attorney documents and the benefits they offer. Common types of power of attorney agreements include:
- Medical power of attorney – A medical power of attorney is what most people refer to when they are talking about a power of attorney document. A medical power of attorney allows someone to make healthcare decisions on your behalf. The document usually goes into effect when you become incapacitated. When read together with an advanced health care directive or living will, a medical power of attorney can help ensure that your wishes regarding your future medical treatment are clearly stated and carried out correctly.
- Financial power of attorney – A medical power of attorney allows someone to make medical decisions on your behalf. A financial power of attorney gives someone control of your financial assets and lets them act on your behalf. Under a financial power of attorney, someone you trust can pay your bills, file your taxes, collect government benefits for you, buy or sell an insurance policy on your behalf, and take care of other financial transactions.
- Durable power of attorney – A durable power of attorney lets someone act on your behalf to whatever extent the document allows. A durable power of attorney goes into effect as soon as someone signs it. The document remains in effect after you become incapacitated.
- Springing power of attorney – Unlike a durable power of attorney, a springing power of attorney does not “spring” into effect until a doctor has certified that you are incapacitated.
- Special power of attorney – A special power of attorney focuses on one specific aspect of your life or gives someone you trust a limited set of choices regarding your affairs. You can craft multiple special power of attorney agreements for different agents. For example, a special power of attorney can allow your spouse to handle any medical decisions on your behalf, while another special power of attorney can let your business partner handle your commercial affairs.
What to Consider When Designating Who Should Have Power of Attorney
Since a power of attorney can give someone broad legal powers over your affairs, it is important to carefully consider who will be entrusted with those powers. Keep these traits in mind when designating an agent through a power of attorney agreement:
- Trustworthiness – You are potentially entrusting your life to whomever you designate as your agent. Select someone who will act in your best interest and according to your wishes.
- Assertiveness – Your agent is your representative if you become incapacitated. That person needs to make sure your wishes are heard and followed. Be sure to pick someone who will not be afraid to speak up if there is a heated debate about your affairs. You also want to choose someone who has excellent communication skills.
- Proximity – Your agent might need to make decisions quickly if you become incapacitated, especially in the event of a medical emergency. Having that person nearby will make that process easier.
- Understanding of medical processes – You do not need to select a nurse or doctor as your power of attorney. You do want to pick someone who is comfortable with medicine and medical processes. That person will need to ask the right questions about medical events such as diagnostic tests, procedures and treatments.
- Willingness to serve – Being designated as someone’s legal agent is a big responsibility. You do not want to create a burden for someone who feels uncomfortable about that responsibility. It is generally best to speak to someone first before designating them as a power of attorney.
Process for Setting Up Power of Attorney
When setting up a power of attorney, you must complete the necessary legal forms. The form must be signed in the presence of a witness who is not the agent (the person granted the power of attorney), the agent’s spouse or child, or the notary public. The witness must certify that you are of sound body and mind and that you are not under any undue influence from another party.
Can You Revoke a Power of Attorney?
If you are not incapacitated, revoking a power of attorney is fairly easy and straightforward. You simply need to fill out a form to officially revoke your old document and draft a new one. However, doing so after you become incapacitated is more difficult and may require help from a lawyer.
Talk to an Arizona Power of Attorney Lawyer Now
The attorneys at Brown & Hobkirk, PLLC are here to help you craft a power of attorney. Our goal is to understand your specific situation and craft a plan that captures your needs and wishes. We want you to be able to rest easier knowing that the appropriate person will have the power to make vital decisions when the time comes.