Power of Attorney Lawyers in Jackson Heights, NY Helping Clients Plan for an Uncertain Future
An important part of any estate plan in New York is designating your power of attorney (POA) to the person you trust most to make informed decisions on your behalf. The person entrusted with your power of attorney is known as the agent. As your agent, powers of attorney could grant them the authority to make decisions regarding your financial or legal matters when you are either unable to make them yourself or otherwise do not feel qualified to make them. Sometimes the POA goes into effect only after you become incapacitated and cannot speak for yourself. Other times, you may craft this important document for one act only, giving someone the power to make important decisions relating to your stock portfolio, for example.
Different powers of attorney have their own advantages and limitations. You do not have to sign a document you feel uncomfortable with, as there are likely other versions of the same legal tool available to you which have the powers and limitations you are looking for.
To better ensure that you are making an informed decision in the drafting of your power of attorney document, it is advisable to speak to an attorney experienced in the legal matters of estate planning and powers of attorney. The law offices of Ortiz & Ortiz, LLP, have been serving clients and helping with their estate plans across New York for over 50 years. If you would like help in the preparation of your power of attorney documents or any other estate planning needs, please contact the lawyers of Ortiz & Ortiz, LLP at their Jackson Heights law office to request a consultation.
What Are the Different Types of Powers of Attorney?
New York has multiple different types of POAs to choose from, each with its own special authorities and responsibilities. Choosing the right one for your needs is paramount.
- Durable Power of Attorney: A durable power of attorney has the authority to act on your behalf in decisions relating to your finances. The agent with durable POA remains vested with these authorities even after an event in which you become incapacitated by sickness or injury. As with all other powers of attorney, the durable power of attorney ends at the time of your death.
- Nondurable Power of Attorney: A non-durable POA is similar to the durable power of attorney in almost every way except that it loses its authority in the event of your incapacitation. The non-durable power of attorney is usually useful for one transaction, or a period of time, but will be revoked once it is no longer needed.
- Springing Power of Attorney: A springing power of attorney only goes into effect after a triggering event, such as your sudden and unexpected incapacitation. In this way, the agent is granted no power of attorney privileges up until that time, but can act in your best interests when you are no longer able to speak for yourself.
- Limited Power of Attorney: The limited power of attorney can have certain, unique set limitations in place, as outlined in the original document.
If you are unsure whether your power of attorney document is ‘durable,’ simply check the original document you filed. New York state law requires that a power of attorney document clearly states itself to be ‘Durable’ in its title.
Who is Eligible to Be Your POA Agent?
The state of New York has a certain set of requirements for who is eligible to be named as your POA agent. These requirements include:
- The agent must be at least 18 years of age.
- Have the mental fortitude to understand the responsibilities given to them and to execute those responsibilities.
- The POA document must be signed by yourself, the agent, and two witnesses, then notarized.
- The agent must be entrusted with keeping your estate and property separate from their own.
- Keep receipts for any and all transactions made in service of your or the estate.
- Properly disclose the nature of their role whenever signing documents on your behalf.
Many people select their spouse or children to be their agent with power of attorney. Generally speaking, though, the role could be given to anyone you trust. Because trust is the most important fact here. Depending on the limitations of your power of attorney document, you will be entrusting this person with important financial decision-making. If you would not trust them with your credit card, do not trust them with your power of attorney.
What Actions Can a Legal Power of Attorney Do on Your Behalf?
Some powers of attorney tend to financial matters; others act as a healthcare proxy. And still, others can perform both tasks. Depending on the document, your agent may have the authority to buy and sell real estate on your behalf, invest your money, attend to your taxes, gift assets to other people, manage your properties, and speak with the banks on your behalf.
You may select more than one person to have your power of attorney. This may limit their power and influence over your affairs. However, it may also slow down the process of crucial decision-making.
If you believe that your agent is not acting in your best interests or is even stealing from your estate, then they can be removed and replaced at any time.
Contact the Jackson Heights Offices of Ortiz & Ortiz, LLP, to Schedule a Consultation
If you would like to speak with an attorney about the proper drafting of your power of attorney document, please reach out to the lawyers of Ortiz & Ortiz, LLP. Our firm has decades of experience representing clients in all manner of legal and estate planning matters and would be proud to help you through the challenges ahead. 917-540-9772.