Long Island Power of Attorney Lawyers
A Power of Attorney (POA) is a legal document giving one or more persons the authority to act as a proxy or agent on your behalf.
As the person creating the POA, known as the principal, you determine the extent of powers your agent can exercise, ranging from making specific decisions to handling all affairs. A POA is vital in circumstances where you become incapacitated or unavailable to make your own decisions.
Furthermore, knowing that someone trusted will handle affairs according to your wishes can provide peace of mind.
At Schneider Garrastegui & Fedele PLLC, we can provide the guidance you need when creating a power of attorney in New York. We can help you draft a legally binding document that lists an agent and the powers you’d like to grant. The document will allow a seamless transfer of power that addresses your specific needs and circumstances.
We will ensure you understand the implications and powers granted under the POA and can guide you in choosing an appropriate agent.
Power of Attorney Options in New York
In New York, several types of POAs can be implemented, each designed for different situations:
- Durable Power of Attorney: A durable POA remains in effect even if the principal becomes mentally or physically incapacitated. This kind of POA is crucial for individuals who want to ensure their affairs are managed if they cannot handle matters themselves.
- General Power of Attorney: A general POA grants broad powers to the agent, allowing them to handle all of the principal's affairs. This type of POA ends when the principal dies or becomes incapacitated or when the principal revokes it.
- Limited Power of Attorney: Also known as a special POA, a limited POA grants the agent the authority to act on the principal's behalf in specific situations or for a particular purpose, such as selling a property. The limited POA ends once the specific transaction or time period has passed.
- Springing Power of Attorney: A springing POA "springs" into effect under certain circumstances outlined by the principal, typically upon the principal's incapacitation. This type of POA requires a detailed definition of the circumstances that would trigger its activation.
Which Power of Attorney is Right for You?
An attorney at our firm can discuss your goals with you to determine the correct document. If you need someone to handle tasks while you’re of sound mind, your attorney might recommend a limited or general power of attorney.
For example, if you must travel out of state or abroad, you may only need a POA for a short time or to handle a specific task, such as filing your taxes. However, if you want to be protected should you be rendered unconscious in an accident or become mentally incapacitated due to advancing age, another POA would be more appropriate.
You can tailor a Power of Attorney as broadly or narrowly as you want.
Who Can Serve As Your Agent?
Under New York law, any competent person 18 or older can serve as an agent in a POA. This person can be a family member, friend, attorney, or trusted advisor. The chosen agent should be trustworthy, capable of handling the responsibilities, and willing to respect and carry out your wishes.
It’s a good idea to select an agent who lives close to you so they will be nearby if action is required.
Because the document is so important, you should consider adding a backup agent. This person can step in if the other person is not available.
Choosing Someone to Make Medical Decisions
A healthcare proxy is a legal document that allows you to designate a person, referred to as your health care agent, to make medical decisions for you if you cannot do so. This document is activated when a physician determines that you cannot understand and appreciate the nature and consequences of health care decisions and reach and communicate an informed decision.
The health care proxy is essential to any estate plan and is vital if you become too sick to make your own health care decisions.
These healthcare decisions could include accepting or refusing a treatment, service, or procedure to diagnose or treat a physical or mental condition. Your healthcare agent could also decide about life-sustaining measures. You can give your agent as little or as much authority as you wish and allow your agent to make decisions in all healthcare matters or only in certain situations.
A standard POA does not grant an agent the authority to make healthcare decisions. Therefore, having both a healthcare proxy and a POA ensures that all aspects of your life can be managed according to your wishes, should it be necessary.
What Happens If You Don’t Have a Power of Attorney?
If you become incapacitated and do not have a Power of Attorney (POA), a judge may appoint a guardian to decide on your behalf. This can be a lengthy, costly, and often stressful process for your family and loved ones.
Furthermore, the court-appointed guardian might not be the person you would have chosen to manage your affairs. Without a POA and a health care proxy, your loved ones cannot access your finances to pay your bills, manage your investments, or make critical medical decisions, even if they are in your best interests.
Through proper planning, you can ensure control over who makes decisions on your behalf, reducing potential conflicts and confusion during a difficult time.
Contact Us Today
At Schneider Garrastegui & Fedele PLLC, our experienced POA attorneys are well-versed in New York laws surrounding healthcare proxies and POAs. We can guide you through creating these documents, ensuring your wishes are clearly articulated and legally enforceable.
Let us help you navigate the crucial decisions you must make to provide peace of mind for you and your loved ones.
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