New Haven Power of Attorney Lawyer

Power of attorney is a powerful component of the estate planning process which involves the principal designating an agent, or attorney-in-fact, to make financial decisions on their behalf. The document affirming this is generally included as part of your overall estate plan.

A New Haven power of attorney lawyer routinely prepares these documents, paying special attention to their individual needs and circumstances. Accomplished attorneys could assist you in all aspects of the drafting process, from explaining the purpose of a power of attorney to providing guidance on selecting an agent and properly executing the document.

Understanding a Durable Power of Attorney

Powers of attorney in New Haven are durable powers of attorney unless the document states otherwise. A durable power of attorney becomes effective at the time of signing, meaning that the agent named in the document is immediately declared as the attorney-in-fact.

The less common alternative to a durable power of attorney is a springing power of attorney. A springing power of attorney becomes effective upon the occurrence of a specified event, typically the principal’s incapacitation. However, this is often a less attractive option because of the difficulties and delays that often come in proving the triggering event has occurred.

Under the Connecticut Uniform Power of Attorney Act, a power of attorney should be signed and dated by the principal in the presence of two witnesses and a notary public.

Benefits of a Power of Attorney in New Haven

There are many good reasons that every adult should have a power of attorney in place. If a person without an agent possessing power of attorney becomes incapacitated and is unable to manage their financial affairs, the only alternative may be appointing a guardian or conservator. This process can be costly and burdensome. Executing a valid power of attorney avoids the need to involve the court in the event of incapacitation.

What Authority Does an Agent Have?

The powers specifically included in a power of attorney instrument will determine the agent’s authority. The document can be permissive or restrictive to various degrees depending on an individual’s particular situation.

Depending on the form used, the principal may specifically initial next to the powers they want to grant their agent. It can be beneficial to include broad-reaching powers in the document to account for any number of situations that may arise.

An agent under a power of attorney typically has the authority to:

  • Transfer money
  • Invest funds
  • Sign documents
  • Enter real estate contracts
  • Deposit checks

Selecting an Agent

An agent under a power of attorney in essence steps into the shoes of the principal and can do just about anything the principal themselves can do. As such, naming someone who is trustworthy is crucial.

Sometimes the agent named in a power of attorney instrument is unable to serve in that capacity because they are incapacitated or otherwise unavailable or unwilling to serve in this role. In the event that a primary agent is unable to serve, it is important that the document names an alternate agent. If practical, a person may name two or more individuals to serve jointly as power of attorney.

Revoking a Power of Attorney

A power of attorney is not permanent. The principal can revoke or modify this document at any time by destroying the document or executing a document that effectively revokes it.

Speak to a New Haven Power of Attorney Today

It is good practice to execute a new power of attorney every few years. Although they may still be legally enforceable, banking and financial institutions are often reluctant to accept a power of attorney that is several years old as a practical matter.

To speak with a New Haven power of attorney lawyer about preparing or updating your power of attorney, call today.