Appointing Agents To Conduct Legal And Financial Affairs
In 2009 and 2010, the New York State Legislature made significant changes to the power of attorney document. It is imperative to not only have a power of attorney, but to also update any documents executed before these legal changes.
The revisions and additions were intended to protect the person executing the document and require much more diligence on the part of the agent who is appointed. An appropriate and comprehensive power of attorney must be drafted and supervised by an attorney, especially an elder law attorney. If not properly written, financial institutions such as banks or brokerage firms will not allow the agent to act on your behalf. Powers of attorney are also sometimes necessary for the client’s agent to be able to obtain benefits on his or her behalf.
The power of attorney that your lawyer at the offices of Futterman, Lanza & Pasculli, LLP, will draft for you will include all powers that will be necessary for your agents to conduct your affairs, if you become physically or mentally incapable. We meet with clients at our main offices in Smithtown and Bay Shore, New York, in order to discuss their situations and fully understand the best way in which to tailor the power of attorney and other estate documents to their specific situations.
When Is A Power Of Attorney Created?
A power of attorney is created when one person (“principal”) grants to another (the agent or “attorney-in-fact”) the authority to act with respect to certain financial and business transactions on the principal’s behalf. Specific language must be present in the document enabling the “attorney-in-fact” or agent to act after the principal becomes disabled. The language makes the instrument “durable” and is essential for this document to survive any subsequent disability or incompetency. These instruments may be tailored to include one specific power or may be quite broad encompassing a myriad of transactions.
Authority To Gift
Authority to make gifts on behalf of the principal (sometimes made for tax or Medicaid purposes) must be specifically granted by the principal or any such gift may be voidable under state law. Additionally, if the principal intends to enable the “attorney-in-fact” to make gifts to him/herself, that power must be specifically included.