Even the best legal protections can sometimes come with risks. For the most part, the benefits of staying current with your legal affairs outweigh any risks. Still, the risks remain. We’re often asked what, if any, disadvantages there are to having a power of attorney in Garden City NY. In our efforts of remaining transparent with each and every one of our clients, it’s important they understand not only the benefits of a power of attorney, but the risks too.
First, we take a look at what exactly a power of attorney in Garden City NY is and why it’s important.
A basic power of attorney is simply a document that allows you to name another person to act on your behalf in certain legal and/or financial situations. It becomes a durable power of attorney should you become incompetent for any reason.
Possible Risks with a Power of Attorney
The first risk is found in the basic definition: some may question your competence at the time you put together your power of attorney. Often, these are family-driven and usually when emotions are already running high. While this alone shouldn’t result in any type of legal action, it can set up less than ideal family dynamics. It’s one reason why you should let your family members know your wishes now. If you become incapacitated at any time in the future, you’ve already put in place the foundation of your expectations. The power of attorney simply cements those expectations.
Another potential risk is found with banks and other financial entities. Some may question the documents and the way they’re drawn up; others may have a rule about older documents. Some may not want to honor the power of attorney after a specific period of time – sometimes as early as one year.
Too many times, the power of attorney is vague. This opens up opportunities for selfish motives by those whom you trusted at some point. It’s important that you revisit your choices surrounding your power of attorney. Your estate planning lawyer can provide important guidance in these efforts.
As you can see, the most likely risk is usually found outside legal dynamics. Your family members may have a difficult time coming to terms with what’s outlined in your power of attorney. Ideally, you’ll be able to voice those wishes so that they’re not overwhelmed with unexpected facts. That’s not always an option, though – which is exactly why a power of attorney is always encouraged by estate planning lawyers.
Do It Yourself Forms
Finally, there’s been some controversy over whether “do it yourself” forms found on the internet are enough. It’s important to understand that these “one size fits all” forms are often inadequate and can leave vulnerabilities that you can’t foresee. These just might be the biggest risks of all associated with powers of attorney. What works for one person might not be inadequate for another’s specific needs. Your best bet is to always secure a reputable and experienced estate planning lawyer. It’s where you true peace of mind comes from.
Is it time you put those documents into place? Give us a call. We’ll be happy to set up a consultation and explore your options. It’s always better to take a proactive stand instead of having your family reacting in a time of crisis.