Powers of attorney can be beneficial to older adults and seniors who would like to choose a trusted person to make financial, legal, and healthcare decisions on their behalf when they cannot. Unfortunately, many people are often hesitant about creating a POA. According to a Merrill Lynch and Age Wave study, only about one-third of American adults 55 years and older have a durable power of attorney. Unless you choose your power of attorney in advance, your loved ones will have to trudge through the expensive and lengthy court process of appointing a guardian to act on your behalf when you can't.
If you’re thinking about creating a POA or choosing your attorney-in-fact, consulting with an experienced New Jersey estate planning attorney is important for detailed guidance. At Hudson Law Firm, we are committed to offering comprehensive legal guidance and strong advocacy to clients in estate planning-related matters, including wills, trusts, advanced directive, probate, and powers of attorney. Our attorneys are available to discuss your unique situation, help you understand your legal options, and guide you through the entire process of establishing your power of attorney.
Hudson Law Firm proudly serves individuals and families in Union City, New Jersey, and the surrounding communities of Jersey City, North Bergen, Hoboken, and Bayonne.
A power of attorney can be described as a legal document that allows someone else to act on your behalf when you (the principal) are unavailable or unable to act. The POA grants a trusted person (your "attorney-in-fact" or "agent") the legal authority, duty, and power to make crucial decisions regarding your property, healthcare, legal, and financial affairs when you cannot make such decisions.
In New Jersey, there are four types of power of attorney documents recognized under the law.
A general or financial power of attorney gives the attorney-in-fact the legal authority to act on the principal's behalf in almost all situations, including financial matters. A general power of attorney becomes invalid upon the principal's death, mental illness, or sudden incapacitation.
A durable power of attorney permits the attorney-in-fact to act on the principal's behalf regarding health or medical care decisions. The durable power of attorney becomes effective upon the disability or incapacity of the principal and terminates once the principal dies.
The limited power of attorney gives the agent the authority to act on the principal's behalf on certain matters as specified in the POA document. For example, a limited power of attorney may give the agent the right to close a real estate deal when you're temporarily incapacitated or unavailable.
A springing power of attorney gives the attorney-in-fact the authority to act on behalf of the principal when certain "springing events" occur, such as when the principal becomes disabled. The agent's authority is only triggered when the specific event occurs.
Creating a power of attorney document is important for the following reasons:
It allows you to choose a dependable person to help manage your healthcare, legal, and financial affairs when you're unavailable or unable to act.
It eliminates the need for a family member or friend to approach the New Jersey court to have a guardian appointed.
It allows you to have a conversation with your family where you discuss your exact wishes.
All activities and transactions executed by the POA remain private, so it keeps your family affairs private.
It helps eliminate any potential questions or doubts about the principal's intentions.
It helps make urgent decisions about your financial and healthcare affairs.
It saves money and time, eliminates stress, and helps your loved ones achieve peace of mind.
Choosing an agent for your financial, legal, or healthcare affairs requires thorough consideration. These guidelines may help you make ideal choices:
Choose a trustworthy person who respects your exact wishes and has your best interests at heart.
Choose an attorney-in-fact who clearly understands their role, duties, responsibilities, and legal rights, and can perform designated tasks brilliantly and ethically.
Choose a trusted person who is mindful of privileges and won't abuse the position.
Choose an agent who can act diligently, even when under possibly strenuous situations.
Choose a person who can keep accurate information and detailed records.
Choose a person who lives close by for easy reach when the need arises.
Choose an agent who will work together with your attorney, advisor, accountant, and other parties to accomplish your unique goals.
At Hudson Law Firm, we have the experience and resources to assist individuals and families through the complexities of estate planning and powers of attorney. If you need help creating a power of attorney, call our team at Hudson Law Firm to schedule a consultation. We serve clients across Union City, Jersey City, as well as North Bergen, Hoboken, and Bayonne, New Jersey.