Contrary to popular belief, no one has the authority to legally act on your behalf unless you give them the authority in writing. At Willingham & Coté, P.C., our estate planning attorneys can assist you in selecting the best person to act on your behalf.
For financial matters, this is done through the use of a Financial Power of Attorney. This document can be as broad or as limited as you want. Some of the most common powers granted in the Financial Power of Attorney are the power to:
- Handle financial transactions;
- Run any businesses you may own;
- Sell real estate;
- File tax returns;
- Engage in real estate transactions; and
- Make gifts.
Typically, we use a durable power of attorney when preparing an estate plan for a client. This document is effective immediately upon signing and the person appointed as the Attorney-In-Fact can immediately start acting on your behalf, even though you can also be acting on your own behalf. It does not require you to be disabled or incompetent.
Without a proper power of attorney, your loved ones will be forced to file a petition in the local probate court requesting the Judge to declare you incompetent or incapable of handling your financial affairs. This process is time consuming and unpleasant to everyone involved. No one wants to file court proceedings against their loved one in efforts to assist them with their finances.
It is important to consult with a professional estate planning attorney to ensure that the right document is being selected for implementation into your estate plan.
You granting the authority for the other to act on his or her behalf.
The person being given the authority to act on behalf of the Principal.