Many residents of Oakland County as well as those throughout the Detroit metro area may have heard of a power of attorney, but not every may have one or see even how they can benefit by signing such a document.
A power of attorney is important estate planning tool, particularly for those who are either aging or have an illness that they know will eventually make it difficult to run their own financial affairs. A power of attorney gives another person, usually a trusted relative or friend, the ability to access financial information and make financial decision's on your own behalf. This is important since you will likely have bills, accounts, on other assets and financial matters that require immediate and ongoing attention, even if you cannot handle them.
There is actually a lot of flexibility allowed when creating a power of attorney document. For instance, the document could give another person, often called the "attorney in fact," immediate power to handle financial affairs, or it could "spring," or only come in to effect if the person who created document reaches a point in which he or she medically can't make financial decisions alone. Some powers of attorney are specifically limited, meaning they only give authority to another temporarily or for a certain purpose.
Michigan residents should be aware the powers of attorney do not cover every important decision. Usually, a separate or special documents needs to be sign to designate another person to make health care decision for someone else. A power of attorney also does not give the attorney in fact the right to act as a lawyer.
Our law office can as part of its estate planning services discuss how best to set up a power of attorney, assuming one is needed at all. We can help residents of Oakland County identify who to nominate as attorney in fact and what limitations, if any, are necessary.