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Power of Attorney

Knowledgeable Hartford Power of Attorney Lawyers

Estate planning and power of attorney services in Hartford & Manchester, CT

One of the strongest tools in your estate planning toolbox is the power of attorney. Before making any quick decisions on this important and valuable document, it’s important to understand your options. There are several different kinds of powers of attorney you can implement to act in your place for both financial and medical purposes, in the event you become incapacitated or can’t act on your own behalf.

At Barry, Barall & Spinella, LLC, our estate planning attorneys can help you plan for your future. We have the experience and the knowledge to work with you to set up a strong power of attorney document that takes all your needs and wishes into account. Ensure your future is protected – call us today.

What is power of attorney?

Power of attorney allows a person that you appoint (sometimes called your agent or attorney-in-fact) to act on your behalf in making financial or other decisions if you can’t act on your own behalf or become incapacitated. You should only name someone as power of attorney if you have total and complete trust in him or her.

All powers of attorney in CT are considered durable unless stated otherwise, or unless you revoke it. There are several kinds of POAs available to you.

Limited power of attorney

With limited power of attorney, you give another individual the power to act for you, but only for a very limited purpose. For example, you might authorize a person limited power of attorney to sign some real estate documents during a period while you’re out of the country. The power of attorney would begin and end on a specific date.

General power of attorney

General power of attorney is the most comprehensive, and gives your agent the same rights and powers that you have. Your power of attorney would be able to sign documents, make business decisions, pay bills, and conduct financial transactions on your behalf. Many people use a general power of attorney while they are still healthy in body but need assistance with financial matters and similar issues. General power of attorney ends upon your death, or if you make the decision to rescind or revoke it.

Springing power of attorney

A springing power of attorney is similar to general power of attorney. It allows your agent to act for you in a comprehensive manner – however, it does not become effective until you are incapacitated. With these types of documents, it’s important that, within the document, you clearly set the definition of incapacitation and what triggers power of attorney.

Our Hartford POA and estate planning lawyers can consult with you to make an informed decision on what type of power of attorney might be right for you.

What can a Hartford power of attorney do? What can’t they do?

The authority you grant to your agent in your POA can be as broad or narrow as you want, depending on how you and your attorney write the document. For example, your agent can make healthcare decisions like what kind of medical care you receive, including treatment, doctors, long-term care, and assisted living. A financial POA might make decisions regarding paying bills for your housing, healthcare, bills, investments, taxes, and managing your property.

However, there are certain things a power of attorney can’t do. First and foremost, your power of attorney is expected to act in your best interests only. Your agent cannot:

  • Break his or her duty to act in your financial best interests
  • Change or alter your will
  • Make decisions on your behalf after your death (unless they are named the executor of your will)
  • Transfer or change power of attorney to another person

Agents do, however, have the right to decline their POA at any time. They do not have the right to choose who takes over their duties. You may want to name a co-agent or alternate agent in your power of attorney document, in the event your agents refuse their duties or pass away. We can explain your options further in a free consultation.

If I give someone power of attorney, will I lose control of my money?

No. You can give an individual power of attorney and still have the right to access and control your money and assets. However, your POA does give your agent the ability to access your money for authorized use. Of course, there is always a risk that a dishonest agent may use your money for unscrupulous purposes, which is why it’s so important to consult with an estate planning lawyer to ensure you’ve chosen an agent you trust and that your document is airtight.

Keeping your power of attorney document up to date

Ensuring your power of attorney is current and up to date is just as important as creating the POA document in the first place. If your circumstances change, as they often do, you may need to adjust the amount of authority your power of attorney has over your affairs. Our Hartford lawyers stay in regular communication with our clients to ensure their overall estate plans meet their goals as their needs evolve.

Professional Hartford power of attorney law firm

Establishing power of attorney can involve many complex issues. It’s vitally important you thoroughly understand the authority you’re granting to another person, and everything it entails. If you need help and guidance drafting a power of attorney document, or want to update an existing one, the estate planning lawyers at Barry, Barall & Spinella, LLC can help. Talk to us today. We’re located minutes off I-384 in Manchester. To schedule a free consultation, please call 860-649-4400 or fill out our contact form.