POWER OF ATTORNEY AND ESTATE PLANNING

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Durable Power of Attorney

An estate plan is about more than dealing with your possessions after you pass away. Your estate plan can also come into play if you lose the mental capacity legally required to make certain types of important decisions. If you fall into a coma or suffer a traumatic brain injury, who is going to run your business? Pay your bills? Pay your taxes? Complete financial transactions you began while of sound mind? You can pick someone you trust to fulfill these responsibilities with a durable power of attorney.

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A durable power of attorney is created while you are of sound mind, and can be revoked at any time that you are of sound mind. You can also choose exactly which types of decisions you would like your power of attorney, also known as an agent or representative, to make for you. You can grant your agent authority to complete a one-time transaction with a specific power of attorney, while a general durable power of attorney encompasses a broader range of transactions.

While you may trust someone with your business and financial affairs, there may be someone else whose judgment you trust more when it comes to medical treatments.

POWER OF ATTORNEY LAWYER in ARIZONA

If you have become unable to make your own decisions for any reason, a Power of Attorney, or POA, can help your family members, the court, and even your doctors know how you would like certain issues to be addressed. But it isn’t as simple as picking someone you trust to act as your agent using a power of attorney form. There are multiple types of powers of attorney, and estate planning laws vary from state to state.

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Arizona power of attorney contract

When many people think of estate planning, they assume it only applies to the distribution of your assets after your death. But your estate plan can come into action for several reasons, including if you become legally incapacitated- coma, advanced dementia, etc.

It is possible that you may also need to revoke your power of attorney at some point in the future.  However, the results of doing so incorrectly could be devastating. Our Arizona estate planning lawyers offer knowledgeable guidance at affordable rates. Get started today by scheduling your free consultation- use our online form or 480-833-8000 and let us know when is most convenient for you.

Types of Powers of Attorney

You will have many options available when creating one or more power of attorneys in Arizona. You may want to consider using more than one so that all of your needs are met. This is easier said than done. An Arizona estate planning lawyer can help you weigh your options based on your specific circumstances. 

General Durable Power of Attorney

This is the broadest type of POA. It is usually used for financial matters, but can apply to a wide array of decisions. You can use a general power of attorney to assign someone the authority to complete financial, business, and real estate transactions on your behalf should you become incapacitated. Even if you don’t have a business or own real estate, this type of POA can still be useful. 

Special Power of Attorney

This type of POA is only meant to give your representative a narrow range of authority. These are often used for one-time transactions. They are also typically used in situations outside your legal incapacitation. For example, if you are planning on going out of the country, are about to be deployed, have impending prison or jail time, or simply don’t want to be inconvenienced by a task, you can use a special power of attorney to give that responsibility to someone that you trust. You need to make sure that your special power of attorney is worded very clearly to make sure that your representative’s range of authority is as narrow as you intend. 

Health Care and Mental Health Power of Attorney

While a general POA applies to financial and personal matters, it doesn’t extend to decisions regarding your medical treatments. You can use a Health Care and Mental Health Power of Attorney to designate who you would like to have authority over these types of decisions if you become incapacitated. This is not to be confused with a living will, which indicates how you want specific decisions to be made rather than giving someone else the authority to make them. 

Revocation of Power of Attorney

There may come a time when you no longer want your chosen representative to have authority in a situation that calls for a POA. If so, you will need to revoke, or cancel, your power of attorney. A POA can be revoked at any time that you are mentally competent. Also, you will need to notify your representative of the revocation, as well as anyone else who was aware of POA and may need to rely on it in the future. You may want to make sure that your revocation is executed properly by hiring a qualified estate planning lawyer. Furthermore, you should also contact an Arizona estate planning lawyer if your representative refuses to acknowledge that the POA has been revoked. 

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Expert Guidance in Estate Planning

With all the options before you, it can be hard to decide which type of power of attorney to use, who to pick as your agent, and whether you should create a living will in addition to a health care power of attorney. Mistakes in the process could create stress and confusion for your family members if you are ever legally incapacitated.

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You also want to make sure that your power of attorneys are carefully worded so that you don’t extend any additional authority to your agents than you want. The best way to make sure that you have clear, properly executed powers of attorney, along with the rest of your estate plan, is by hiring an attentive and knowledgeable estate planning lawyer. Our Arizona estate planning team will explain all of your options to you thoroughly so that you can create your estate plan with confidence. Rest assured, knowing that your loved ones and doctors will know how to proceed if you are ever unable to tell them yourself. For your free consultation, call 480-833-8000 to get started today.

Health Care Power of Attorney vs. Living Will, Which is Right for Me?

When it comes to medical decisions in the event you become legally incapacitated, you have more than one option available to you. Understanding the differences between a health care POA and living will are vital to making that selection. Therefore, additional assistance in making your decision, contact our office for your free consultation with one of our seasoned Arizona estate planning lawyers

Health Care Power of Attorney – Just like any other type of POA, you will assign a representative or agent to make decisions for you if you ever become legally incapacitated. If you are ever in a coma, experience a severe TBI, or are in similar circumstances, it will be impossible for you to give informed consent for several types of medical treatments that require it. Thus, your chosen representative will have the responsibility of making these decisions if the time ever comes. You can also designate an alternate POA in case your first choice predeceases you or is otherwise unable to serve as your health care POA. 

Living Will – This is an advanced health care directive that allows you to predetermine certain medical decisions if you ever lose the ability to do so yourself. Some decisions you can make in advance in your living will include whether to receive CPR, tube feeding, ventilation, dialysis, medications, and more. You can also use your living will to state if you would like to donate your organs. It can be used in conjunction with or in addition to a DNR, or do not resuscitate.  Our Arizona Living Will Attorneys can assist you with creating a living will.

Both – You don’t have to decide between a health care power of attorney and a living will as you can use both in your estate plan. A living will can help guide the POA on what decisions to make once their powers come into effect. A living will can also let your agent know when you would like the POA to take effect, such as after examination by two physicians. This can be the clearest way to make your wishes known in the worst case scenario.