What is a Power of Attorney (POA) and what does it do?

Do any of the following people need to sign a power of attorney?

  • Mr. Jones lives alone, has no close family, and is scheduled for major surgery in a few weeks.

  • Ms. Smith has been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease.

  • Mr. and Mrs. Adams will be out of the country for the next 6 months but have a house they need to sell.

  • Ms. Davis is single, runs a successful business, and has no medical or economic concerns.

The answer is yes. They all do. A power of attorney (POA) is a document that allows you to appoint a person or organization to manage your affairs if you become unable to do so. However, all POAs are not created equal.{C} Each type gives your attorney-in-fact (the person who will be making decisions on your behalf) a different level of control.

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Do I Need A Will?

Short answer: Yes!

Why?

 

A Will allows you to select the individuals who will receive what you own when you die.

Virtually everyone postpones writing a Will. Maybe it’s because we don’t want such a tangible reminder of our mortality. Or perhaps we view the process as relinquishing the ownership of our property.

 

Whatever the excuse may be for putting off the drafting of a Will, many people do not realize that writing one actually prevents what is feared. In fact, a Will may be the most important document that you ever write, because it allows you to select the persons who will receive what you own when you die.

 

If you don’t have one in place, you cannot select the recipients of your property and the state you reside in will determine how your property is divided.

What A Will Does
  • A Will includes specific directions on how you wish your estate to be distributed after your death, including provisions for any tangible personal property that you may own.

  • If you don’t have a Will in place, you can’t select the recipients of your property and the state you reside in will determine how your property is divided.

  • It’s important to review your Will every five years to ensure that it’s up to date and still reflective of your future wishes.

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