Financial Power of Attorney
What does a General Durable Power of Attorney allow someone to do?
A General Durable Power of Attorney (also known as a Financial POA) is a document that appoints another person to act on your behalf while you are still living. Your POA is usually set up to be valid until you pass away, but it can also be limited to a specific period of time. This document allows someone to make decisions for you, handle your finances, get information about your assets and accounts, and even transfer your property. There may come a time when you cannot do these things for yourself. That’s when your POA can step in to handle these matters for you.
The best part about creating a Financial POA with Bauman Estate Planning is that we will tailor your documents to fit your specific situation. Don’t settle for a fill-in-the-blank form. A General Durable Power of Attorney is an essential part of your estate plan, so don’t settle for a 3-page form. You should decide exactly what authority your POA will have and I will prepare a document that meets your specific needs.
Why do I need a Power of Attorney now?
You probably don’t need anyone to make financial decisions for you right now. However, there is a very good chance that you will need someone to make decisions for you at some point in your life. The problem is that no one really knows when that time will come. This may happen suddenly, so you should not wait to have a General Durable Power of Attorney in place. Once it’s too late, your loved ones could end up in a costly and invasive Guardianship Court case.
Everyone over age 18 should have a Financial POA, no matter your age or family situation. Don’t assume that your family will be able to handle your financial affairs without one. Don’t assume that your spouse and kids won’t need this document to take care of things for you. Banks, investment companies, mortgage companies, and even utility companies will NOT communicate with another person without a POA, no matter how closely that person is related to you. I can prepare a General Durable Power of Attorney for you that states YOUR intentions.
How do I name a Power of Attorney?
To get started on your POA, you need to answer 3 questions: 1) who; 2) when; and 3) what. I work through these questions with each of my clients, so you don’t have to know all the answers before you call me. The best thing you can do is call Bauman Estate Planning to get this done today.
WHO??? – This is the most important question when making your POA. A Financial POA needs to state who you want to make financial decisions for you. The key here is trust. You need to name the person whom you trust the most to do the right thing. You are never more vulnerable during your lifetime than when you are unable to make your own decisions. You need someone that you have confidence in to make sure that you’re taken care of. If you choose the right person, the other questions below will fall into place and become much easier to answer.
WHEN??? – Next, you need to think about when you want your POA to be valid. There are generally two options here: 1) make it right now; or 2) make it valid at some point in the future. The choice is yours, but I prefer the first option. If your POA states that it is only good if you are unable to make your own decisions, there could be some delay or even some questions surrounding that. We may have to wait on your personal doctors or family members to determine that you truly cannot make your own decisions. Sometimes your mental capacity can seem fine when it really is not and vice versa. I lean toward making a POA valid as soon as it is signed, even though it is not really needed at that time yet. I like that option because it takes the question of your mental capacity out of the equation. You’ve already named your POA and given this person the authority to act on your behalf. There should not be a concern with your POA acting on your behalf because the document is already valid.
WHAT??? – Lastly, a Kentucky General Durable Power of Attorney should state exactly what your POA can and cannot do. Banks and investment companies want to see specific language in this document that allows your POA to take action. If your Financial POA is too broad and vague, it may be declined when you need it most. If you want your POA to have access to your bank accounts and safe deposit box, you should state that specifically. If you want your POA to have authority over your investments and retirement accounts, very specific language is required. Perhaps you own your own business. If so, you need to include details about that in your POA. There are more involved planning strategies we can include in your POA, including gifting and the Trust funding. These are all considerations I can help with if your situation calls for that type of planning.
At Bauman Estate Planning, the process to make your General Durable Power of Attorney is quick, easy, and affordable. Don’t put this off any longer. None of us knows what the future holds. I can meet you at either of my 2 Louisville locations. We can also handle the entire process remotely if you prefer.
Here are some links to other Kentucky estate planning documents I can help you with:
General Durable Power of Attorney
Call Bauman Estate Planning today at (502) 267-7967 or click on the link at the top of the page to schedule a phone call or in-person meeting with Jason.