Setting up a power of attorney is a very important step in estate planning. If you don’t have a power of attorney and become incapacitated, someone you might not choose will get control over decisions for your estate.
For example, you may want your adult child to have control, but without a power of attorney your brother might be chosen because he lives closer and can “take over” more easily. You don’t need that kind of stress during an already difficult time.
Rather than lie awake at night, worrying about someone you may not trust taking control of your assets, you can set up a power of attorney and eliminate all of that stress and worry before it ever even starts. Here at Elder Law Care, we’ve helped out hundreds of people with estate planning. Getting your affairs in order with the help of a professional provides peace of mind for all the years ahead.
What is a Power of Attorney?
Power of attorney is a legal agreement, whereby you (the principal) designate another person (the agent) to make decisions about your medical care, assets, or finances. A power of attorney has to be in writing, signed, dated, and executed correctly, with the proper legal language. Without handling it correctly, it may not be enforceable and won’t be part of your estate planning in the ways you had hoped.
There are four different types of power of attorney. These are:
- General power of attorney: The general power of attorney is very broad, and allows for the designated person to perform any legal act on behalf of the principal. But a list of specific activities is also included.
- Durable power of attorney: The durable power of attorney will stay in place even if the principal becomes incapacitated, so it’s very important that they choose someone they can fully trust. Watch this video to learn more.
- Special or limited power of attorney: As the name suggests, this type of power of attorney is only for a particular act, that is designated in the document. It can’t be extended to other areas of life. One example would be a Financial Power of Attorney.
- Springing durable power of attorney: This option for power of attorney only becomes effective when particular conditions are met, such as incapacitation of the principal.
Power of Attorney vs. Guardianship
A power of attorney is less expensive than a guardianship. Another point in its favor is that you choose who you want to act for you if you become incapacitated. In a guardianship, the court chooses for you, and it may not be someone you would have chosen for that role.
Power of Attorney Responsibilities
The responsibilities that come along with being someone’s power of attorney are varied, which is why proper estate planning with an elder law attorney is so important. You want to make sure you understand exactly what powers you’re conveying to the agent you’re choosing.
You should also confirm with your power of attorney to ensure they understand what the job entails and whether or not they are interested in the responsibility of being your power of attorney. In some instances, they’ll decline, and you will need to choose someone else.
How Can a Family Create a Power of Attorney for an Elderly Parent?
The best way for a family to create a power of attorney for an elderly parent is to start with that parent’s wishes. Thoroughly discussing what matters to a parent, and how they want to have their affairs handled if they can’t take care of them on their own, shows respect for what matters to them.
If you’re the parent, you also want to make sure you’re conveying your wishes to your children, so they can work with you on the right level of support for your needs. Once everyone has discussed wishes and goals, the next step is to make sure the designated agent agrees to that role, and then work with a legal professional to draw up the proper paperwork. Then you can sit back and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re protected for the future.
What is the Cost to Create a Power of Attorney in Massachusetts?
The average legal fees for a power of attorney in Massachusetts range from $250 to $500. The difference in cost can depend on the specifics of the document you want created, as well as the legal professional you work with.
Protect Your Future
You don’t need to let the stress of an uncertain future hang over your head. Instead, trust your future to someone who has deep experience with estate planning like the team at Elder Law Care. You can work with trusted professionals to make sure you have the right power of attorney document for your needs. Reach out to us today, and let us help you find the right options and create the legal paperwork for your security and peace of mind.