As a New York estate planning law firm, clients often ask us how to get a Power of Attorney (POA). The answer depends on several factors that are unique to your situation, your relationships, and your goals. One of the core purposes of our firm is to help you be prepared, and we want to help you to visualize the steps and some important considerations before we help you set up your POA.
At Schneider, Garrastegui & Fedele, PLLC, we help clients in New York prepare POAs to mitigate problems and place decision-making power in dependable hands. Read below to learn more about the process ahead, then call (631) 519-9831 today to schedule a consultation with a Power of Attorney lawyer at our firm in Melville, NY.
How a Power of Attorney Works
Generally, a Power of Attorney is a legally binding document that lists the powers you would like to grant to a specified person. The person granting powers is the principal, and the person granted powers is the agent. A POA helps to provide peace of mind that important matters will be under the control of a trusted person.
Different Types of POAs & Their Purposes
Financial Power of Attorney
A Financial POA empowers the agent to manage the principal’s business and financial matters. The agent of a Financial POA must pursue the wishes of the principal to the extent specified as their responsibility, and to the extent of their ability. There are different varieties of Financial POA, including General, Limited, and Durable Powers of Attorney. In New York State it is one form that covers all.
General Power of Attorney
A General POA empowers the specified agent to act on behalf of the principal in any financial matters within NY state law. For example, the agent could take actions regarding the principal’s bank and checking accounts, property, assets, or taxes.
Limited Power of Attorney
A Limited POA only empowers the agent to act on behalf of the principal in regards to specific matters or in the case of specific events, such as a specified type of account or a limited duration of time.
Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA)
A Durable POA is in effect upon signing, empowering the agent to act on the principal’s behalf unless the principal cancels it. The document should indicate that the agent will continue to retain the specified powers in the event of the principal’s incapacitation.
Requirements for a Power of Attorney in New York
You should work with an experienced New York estate planning attorney to prepare a Power of Attorney. Many times, mistakes made during well-meaning DIY efforts place the principal’s important decisions in jeopardy.
In New York, a Power of Attorney Must be:
- Drafted by or on behalf of a principal who is at least 18 years of age and has mental capacity (able to understand the document’s nature and consequences)
- Typed or printed clearly and legibly, in at least 12-point font size or its written equivalent
- Signed and dated by the principal at a time when the principal has mental capacity to choose to do so, in the presence of two witnesses who are neither agents specified in the POA nor beneficiaries of the principal’s estate
- Notarized (not required for a Health Care Proxy)
- Signed and dated by the agent (and backup ( successor) agent) before a notary public; this must happen before they can act as the principal’s agent
Additional specific language is also required to make the document legal, and depending on the nature and purpose of your POA, additional language may be required that would pertain to property to be transferred as “gifts” according to your specified terms.
Choosing The Right Agent For Your POA
In order to serve as an agent for a Power of Attorney in New York, an individual must be aged 18 years or older. You should probably select an agent that lives nearby so they will be accessible when needed. Many clients also choose to include a backup (successor) agent, and our experienced POA lawyers can help you make an appropriate selection.
Many principals choose their spouse, a family member, or a close friend to be an agent. Your estate planning attorney can help you to identify an appropriate agent when setting up your POA.
Work With an Experienced Power of Attorney Lawyer at Schneider, Garrastegui & Fedele, PLLC in New York to Set Up Your Power of Attorney
You may face severe risks to your financial concerns if you do not prepare an appropriate Power of Attorney in anticipation of your incapacity or unavailability. Your failure to act to anticipate such events or conditions can lead to a situation where a guardian must be appointed for a duration of time. A Guardianship proceeding can take months to complete while important decisions languish in limbo.
You have the opportunity now to take inventory of these concerns and prepare accordingly. At Schneider, Garrastegui & Fedele, we help clients in New York to prepare POAs in coordination with their estate plans every day. Call us at (631) 519-9831 today to schedule a consultation with a Power of Attorney lawyer at our firm in Melville, NY.
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The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.
SCHNEIDER, GARRASTEGUI & FEDELE PLLC
135 Pinelawn Rd #250s
Melville, NY 11747