You have heard the legal phrase “power of attorney” in the past, however, you may not know exactly what this means. In short, power of attorney is granted to an “agent” to give that person the legal authority to make decisions on the behalf of somebody (known as the principal) who has become incapacitated.
Note: the laws for creating a power of attorney are not the same in each state, so you must discuss this with a local estate planning attorney.
Power of Attorney in Madison WI
When creating a power of attorney in Madison Wisconsin, the principal has the right to determine how much authority is given to the agent.
There are many types of decisions that the agent can make, including:
- Financial decisions
- Gifts of money
- Sale and Purchase of Property
- Recommendation of a guardian
- Paying Bills
Of course, these decisions can only be made by the agent if the principal has given the authority for them to do so in the power of attorney document. Because we have no way of knowing when we will need our power of attorney due to our incapacitation, it is recommended that your document contain many provisions covering all circumstances that your agent may need to act on your behalf. The two page power of attorney documents typically will not be enough to protect your estate and you.
Who should be the Agent?
This is something to discuss with your attorney, as there are many options to consider. Most people select a spouse, child, or another relative. A family friend, as long as you trust him or her, may also be considered.
Consider this: not having a power of attorney is better than having one that leaves power to somebody who is going to abuse it. There is nothing more important than choosing an agent you can trust.
Termination of a Power of Attorney
At some point, you may realize that you want to terminate your power of attorney. Upon your death, this document is automatically terminated. If you want to do this while you are living, you will need to contact your estate planning attorney to discuss the process for doing so in your state.
Remember, destroying the document is not typically enough especially if you have released copies of your power of attorney.
Note: if the agent dies, the principal is staffed with the responsibility of choosing an alternate person to take on this responsibility. If he or she fails to do so, the document is then terminated.
A Power of Attorney document is a very important piece of your complete estate plan. If you are interested in creating a power of attorney in Madison WI or discussing your estate planning options, contact us- we are experienced Madison WI estate planning attorneys. We offer free initial estate planning consultation. Contact us today by going to KH-LAW.net.