Establishing Durable Powers of Attorney
Estate planning is mainly about protection—and while this is mainly for your loved ones in the future, it can also be about protecting yourself and the decisions you know you would want to make, even if you were not competent. The estate planning process is one that should be carefully thought out—and carried out—with the help of a skilled estate planning attorney, but it is also one that always carries a sense of urgency behind it.
Creating a will and all the other facets of an estate plan should be done as soon as you realize you have personal effects and property to hand down, and while there is no doubt you are of sound mind. With this foundation for the estate plan, you can assign the executor and your beneficiaries, as well as establishing guardianships for any minor children. Beyond the will, the estate plan may also include the advance directive for health care, and specific trusts meant to protect family members. Along with that, you will probably want to establish a suitable power of attorney.
While there are several different types of power of attorney, the durable power of attorney is significant as they will be empowered to serve in your stead should you become incompetent. The durable power of attorney allows for enormous responsibility as they can follow through with serious decisions outlined in the advance directive for healthcare, such as when to end life support, and more.
In Georgia, the durable power of attorney is usually also the same as a general power of attorney, offering more expansive authority as an agent, while the special POA is just that, with limits to their authority. If you are establishing a POA, you are known as the Principal, and the POA acts as your agent. Most likely you will allow them to take care of all your business should you become unable to do so later. This includes taking control of your finances. They can usually sign checks, review and sign contracts, and be responsible for executing other legal documents. The POA may exert power over all your other assets as well, but only as authorized. Obviously, this agent must be someone you trust explicitly, whether they are a family member or attorney—and if they abuse their power or are no longer suitable to act as an agent, their power can be revoked.
Scriber Law Group is an Atlanta estate planning practice able to help you with everything from a simple will to more complex planning of your estate, along with business and financial planning, creating trusts, and managing them. We will work with you directly in the process, also helping you to avoid any tax complications or potential conflicts with family over what you have outlined in your will or trust. Call (404) 939-7562 or contact us online for a free consultation.