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Why do I Need a Power of Attorney?


Everyone age 18 and older needs a power of attorney.

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									        Why do I Need a Power of Attorney?
Everyone age 18 and older needs a power of attorney. It is a myth that you can
legally sign your spouse’s (or child’s) name on a check, contract, or other
document. A power of attorney is a legal document wherein you name an agent to
act on your behalf in financial or medical matters.

The financial power of attorney:

When you think of a power of attorney, you likely think of a multi-page legal
document with a laundry list of powers that enables someone to sign your name on
your behalf. This would be a “general durable financial power of attorney.”

“General” means that it’s for multiple purposes; “durable” means that it is effective
even after you’re disabled; and “financial” means that the power of attorney
authorizes day to day business matters.

Some of the common powers granted under a power of attorney would be: writing
checks to pay bills, directing investment activity, buying or selling real estate,
dealing with the mail and social security, and executing estate plans.

The medical power of attorney:

The medical power of attorney authorizes your agent to make health care decisions
for you if you are not able to make those health care decisions yourself. It is
important to name an agent who is comfortable dealing with medical professionals,
specifically, standing up to doctors.

Common decisions under a medical power of attorney would include what hospital
you go to, hiring and firing a doctor, and whether you get a blood transfusion or
particular medication.

If you don’t have a power of attorney:

If you don’t have a power of attorney and you become disabled, your loved ones
will have to go to court for a guardianship proceeding wherein it will be
determined if you are competent to make your own decisions. Upon such
determination, the court will freeze your assets and assign someone to be in charge
of your assets and it may not be a family member. Sometimes, a local attorney is
named as guardian. The court will oversee all of our financial affairs.

The guardianship process is lengthy, expensive, public and stressful. It can be
avoided with a simple power of attorney document. If you have any questions
about a power of attorney or would like to get a power of attorney in place, consult
with a qualified estate planning attorney.

Experienced estate planning attorneys Seattle WA of the Byrd Garrett PLLC offers
estate planning and business planning resources to residents of Seattle WA. To
learn more about these free resources, please visit today.

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