Power of Attorney
As part of your estate plan, you should include a power of attorney. A power of attorney is a document that gives written authority to someone else to act on your behalf. You may need someone to act on your behalf for convenience, if you are unable to do all financial or legal transactions, or in the event that you are incapacitated by injury or illness. There are different kinds of power of attorney to consider.
Regular Power of Attorney
The person creating the power of attorney and granting authority is the principal. The person appointed to act on their behalf is the agent or attorney-in-fact. A power of attorney can be drafted to be very specific in what powers are authorized for agent to perform or it can be broad. A regular power of attorney is ineffective once a principal is incapacitated, mentally incompetent or upon death. Depending on what action the power of attorney is authorizing, it can expire upon the event of the action or at a specific time in the future. If no deadline for expiration is established, a principal has to revoke the power of attorney.
Durable Power Of Attorney
A durable power of attorney is similar to a regular power of attorney except it provides specific language allowing it to survive the incapacity or mental incompetence of a principal. Prior to January 1, 2018 this type of document had to be recorded with a local Register of Deeds to be valid, however this has now changed. We can help you determine if your power of attorney needs to be recorded to ensure that it is effective.
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Health Care Power of Attorney
Like a durable power of attorney a health care power of attorney provides for an agent to make medical decisions for the principal in the event the principal is incapacitated or otherwise unable to make their own decisions.
The Uniform Power of Attorney Act
On January 1, 2018 North Carolina legislatures enacted revisions to the laws governing powers of attorney to clarify issues that previously existed. The new law provides additional guidance to agents regarding the acts they can take while providing them with additional incentives and assurances.
A substantial change under the law is that the recording the durable powers of attorneys is no longer required to be valid. If you have an existing power of attorney prepared prior to January 1, 2018, those are still valid; however it is recommended that you have an attorney review it and advise if you should update it to conform with the new law to avoid any questions in the future.
A power of attorney is an important document to have prepared in the event of the unknown to ensure that you and your financial matters are handled by someone of your choosing. If you have questions about creating a power of attorney or wish to have your existing power of attorney reviewed, contact us for a consultation. We can guide you through the process to create a power of attorney tailored to your personal circumstances. Our team of estate attorneys are experienced in the areas of estate planning and can assist you in understanding the long-term impact your decisions may have. Call us at 336-379-1390 to schedule your consultation today.
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