A power of attorney is a legal document that gives someone else the power to make decisions on your behalf. These powers are used to save your family time and money if you ever become incapacitated or mentally incapable of handling your own affairs.
Durable powers of attorney and healthcare powers of attorney have different purposes. A healthcare power of attorney gives someone else the ability to control your healthcare decisions, while a durable power of attorney gives someone else the ability to handle your financial affairs.
Both are important parts of a comprehensive estate plan.
North Carolina Durable Powers of Attorney
A typical power of attorney becomes invalid if you become incapacitated. However, if you make your power of attorney “durable”, it continues to be effective after you become incapacitated.
A durable power of attorney gives an agent the power to manage your financial affairs when you are unable to do so yourself. If you were to become incapacitated, think of all the financial transactions that someone else would have to take care of:
- Paying your mortgage
- Buying or selling property, such as stocks, real estate, or personal property
- Filing and paying taxes
- Paying utilities, car payments, and other bills
If you don’t have a durable power of attorney in place, a family member may have to petition a court to become your guardian. This process can be time-consuming, and you wouldn’t have the ability to choose who manages your affairs or to give them specific instructions.
Healthcare Powers of Attorney
A healthcare power of attorney gives your agent the ability to make medical decisions on your behalf. This power will only be used if you are unable to make decisions for yourself.
Your agent can decide whether to accept or refuse medical treatment and make other healthcare decisions for you. You and your estate planning attorney can decide which powers to give to your healthcare power of attorney.
Both durable and healthcare powers of attorney are important parts of an estate plan. If you have a will, but haven’t made a power of attorney yet, consult with a North Carolina estate planning attorney.
The lawyers at King Law can help you plan for what happens if you become disabled or incapacitated, and we’re here to help you get a better sense of where you stand. We invite you to come in and talk with one of our attorneys in person during a consultation. Our number is 888-748-KING (5464).