While none of us expect to become so ill we cannot manage our own affairs, we should nonetheless prepare contingencies in case these types of situations arise out of an injury, old age, or another unexpected event. One of the most important types of planning we can do is to create a financial power of attorney to allow a trusted person to manage money for health care and and lifestyle to ensure we continue to live comfortably with dignity.
With a financial power of attorney, an individual can perform many duties on your behalf such as making bank deposits and withdrawals, paying bills, manage government benefits, and watch over any financial investments. Income and finances are an incredibly important part of our lives and need continuous oversight to ensure there are no interruptions that could negatively impact our ability to provide for ourselves.
In New York, any competent person may serve as your agent to manage your finances. While legal and financial management experience are always a plus, the individual creating the financial power of attorney need only choose a capable and trusted person, depending on the situation he or she may find themselves in. When and for how long the financial power of attorney lasts depends entirely on the wording of the document.
There are a number of different ways a financial power of attorney can be create. One possible way is for the agent to assume the power of attorney only after a doctor decides the person who created the document cannot make decisions for themselves. This may be referred to as a springing power of attorney. Other powers of attorney may take effect immediately and last only as long as the language states.
Under New York law, powers of attorney end upon the individual’s death at which point the deceased’s last will and testament would allow the executor of the estate to manage financial affairs moving forward. The power of attorney may be revoked at any other time by the individual so long as he or she is competent to do so, otherwise a court order may be required and that could involved lengthy and expensive litigation.
Without a financial power of attorney in place in case of an emergency, family members may be left scrambling to pick up the pieces and ensure finances are taken care of. As with other aspects of estate planning, foresight and careful consideration can go a long way to lessening the burden our loved ones may be left with after our passing or an unforeseen event.