law offices serving both
the Brainerd Lakes
& Little Falls Area
Power of Attorney
Ensure Your Life Choices
When, in the course of our lives, it becomes difficult to make decisions concerning your own finances or well-being, it may become necessary to hand that decision-making authority to someone else in your life. In a legal sense, this is done by giving someone what’s called “power of attorney.” Power of attorney gives someone the ability to make legally binding financial, medical, and personal decisions for you if you are unable to make such decisions.
Because this is a huge legal responsibility, it is always wise to get the help of attorneys when crafting your power of attorney agreements. The attorneys at Mallie Law Office have a great deal of experience and expertise in matters of estate planning and power of attorney. We know how emotional these times can be, so we pull out all the stops to ensure that clients get robust, practical, and realistic legal help.
What is Power of Attorney?
If you are unable to make decisions for yourself, the ability to make judgments about your property and finances will be given to another individual, usually called the “attorney-in-fact.” In these cases, the person ceding their power is generally referred to as the “principal.” The idea behind power of attorney is that the attorney-in-fact will work to make the best possible decisions for the principal. These decisions are legally binding, and may apply to medical care, financial payments, and so on.
This is why most principals designate an attorney-in-fact well ahead of the time in which they might need them. Often, Power of Attorney agreements have a designated “trigger”—something that causes them to go into effect. The nice thing about power-of-attorney agreements is that you can structure them essentially any way you want to, giving certain power to one group and other power to another group. You could even designate several attorneys-in-fact that would have to agree on the best course of action.
Protect Your Decisions
In the absence of a legally recognized power-of-attorney agreement, the state will usually designate who gets this power. That can be problematic for many of the Brainerd and Little Falls area clients who come to see us. The “default” power-of-attorney may pass to someone who does not have your best interests at heart or who has not seen you in ages. The default transfer makes no allowances for such things. For example, if you were estranged from your spouse but still legally married, your spouse may receive power-of-attorney over your affiars.
Most of our clients wish to avoid such a loss of control, and so they will enlist the aid fo the attorneys at Mallie Law Office to help them draw up appropriate power-of-attorney documents. These days, there are many “do-it-yourself” options for drawing up such legally documents, but they lack the expertise and experience that real, live attorneys bring—experience and expertise that helps ensure your Power-of-Attorney documents are legally robust and binding.
In order to have legal standing, power-of-attorney agreements must be signed in front of a notary public.
Relief for our Brainerd and Little Falls Area Patients
Discussions revolving around estate planning are not always pleasant conversation, and so many of our Brainerd and Little Falls area power-of-attorney clients avoid them. But we’ve noticed something about that. The longer our clients avoid such conversations, the longer they are anxious or uneasy. In general, having a legally binding document such as a power-of-attorney agreement allows our clients to feel content and at ease, knowing their loved ones will know what to do should anything happen in the future.
Of course, life often changes, and those relationships change as well. Once you have a power-of-attorney document, it’s important to keep those documents updated. This is, usually, a much less intense process than the creation of the documents in the first place (although that depends on how drastically you want to update those documents).
The point of these documents is to ensure that your wishes are carried out even if you yourself are unable to see that through. Most of our clients who go through this process report a significant feeling of peace of mind afterwards. Our attorneys at Mallie Law Office, however, are sensitive to the fact that, sometimes, this is an unpleasant conversation. But it’s one that will help you keep your affairs in order.
To schedule a consultation, contact Mallie Law Office today.