Hamilton Powerof Attorney Lawyer
Hamilton Power of Attorney Lawyer
Many people associate estate planning with what happens at a person’s death, not realizing that there are numerous opportunities during their lifetimes to make things easier on loved ones. By executing a power of attorney, you enable someone to step into your shoes and make decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. There are powers of attorney to cover financial issues, but New Jersey’s statute on advance directives covers decision-making regarding health matters and medical needs. Without the proper documentation in place, the hands of your loved ones are tied. They will need to go to court to get legal authority to act, and the proceedings are both time-consuming and expensive.
Powers of attorney deliver many benefits if you become capacitated, and you can better leverage them when you have experienced legal counsel on your side. Our team at Scott Counsel, P.C. is knowledgeable about the laws and requirements, so we are ready to guide you and assist with document preparation. Please contact us to schedule a consultation with a Hamilton power of attorney lawyer, and read on for a summary of the relevant concepts.
Overview of New Jersey Power of Attorney Laws
Two specific options are described in detail below, but it is important to understand the general concepts related to a power of attorney. The relevant parties are:
- The principal who appoints an “attorney-in-fact,” i.e., an agent to act on his or her behalf concerning the tasks contained in the document; and
- The agent who takes action and makes decisions for the principal. Note that a principal should include a successor in a power of attorney if the first is unable or unwilling to serve.
For estate planning purposes, powers of attorney aim to address incapacity. When the principal is unable to make responsible decisions regarding financial matters or health care, the agent can seamlessly step in through a properly executed power of attorney. To best understand this advantage, note what happens when you do NOT have one:
- You are incapable of managing your real estate, personal property, and other financial matters. Your mortgage and other bills go unpaid, subjecting important assets to creditor claims. Plus, your property could suffer from waste and deterioration.
- Incapacity renders you unable to communicate with health care providers and make medical decisions about treatment, procedures, and other care. No one can act on your behalf to support your health and well-being.
Under the circumstances, the only way to gain legal authority is to manage your health needs and finances in New Jersey guardianship proceedings. Your loved ones will need to petition the court and request the appointment of a guardian to handle your affairs. The process can be costly and time-consuming, especially when there are disputes over who should be named as a guardian.
Two Key Options with Powers of Attorney
Having covered the basics and why a power of attorney is so critical, you should review some details on the two types:
- Durable Power of Attorney: Through this document, the principal names an agent to handle property and financial issues. You can be very specific about the powers you grant related to:
- Real estate;
- Personal property;
- Stocks, bonds, and securities;
- Legal claims and litigation;
- Government benefits; and
- Tax matters.
- Health Care Proxy Directive: Also called a health care power of attorney or advance directive in New Jersey, this document appoints an agent for medical purposes. Besides naming your health care representative, you can provide specific instructions on artificial life support and life-sustaining procedures. You can also include your own words on the care you prefer.
Help with Powers of Attorney
You hand over considerable legal authority when preparing an advance directive or durable power of attorney, so legal advice is crucial. Scott Counsel, P.C. will go into further detail about how these documents work, and we will review all provisions with you to ensure they meet your expectations.
In addition, there are strict requirements on executing both types of powers of attorney, including witnesses, acknowledgment by the agent, and notarization. Our Hamilton power of attorney lawyers will put these fundamentals in place and protect against errors in execution. We will also guide on:
- What to do with the documents in terms of storage;
- Ensuring the proper parties have copies; and
- The legal obligations of banks, financial institutions, and health care providers when presented with a power of attorney.
Comparing Powers of Attorney to Other Estate Planning Documents
Because they are an important part of estate planning, there can be some overlap and confusion about powers of attorney. The clarify the distinctions:
- Your will states your intentions regarding the distribution of assets and management of your estate after death. Powers of attorney take effect during your lifetime.
- A living will is called an “instruction directive” in New Jersey. It allows you to state your preferences on providing, withholding, or discontinuing treatment when you have an incurable or irreversible medical condition. Unlike a proxy directive, you do not appoint an agent to make health decisions for you.
- With a living trust, you transfer the title on real estate and personal property to a trustee to be managed according to the terms you include in the trust document. As such, a trust could impact a durable power of attorney. It is necessary to make sure these two documents do not conflict, which you would usually do by giving your agent authority to act as trustee.
Discuss Your Options with a Hamilton Power of Attorney Lawyer
Hopefully, this overview helps you understand how health care advance directives and durable powers of attorney work in conjunction with a well-developed estate plan. Still, the information above should convince you how important it is to have skilled legal representation for assistance. You can count on Scott Counsel, P.C. to advise you on options, guide you in making informed decisions, and help with execution. To learn more about our services, please call (856) 672-7248 or go online to set up a consultation with a New Jersey power of attorney lawyer. We can provide personalized details after reviewing your circumstances.
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