Powers of Attorney for health and financial decision-making are essential documents in estate planning. Power of Attorney for You

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Powers of Attorney
Appointing an Agent to act on your behalf is essential in our world today. 

The term “power of attorney” is one with high recognition. The real power of a power of attorney is often not as high. The general term power of attorney refers to a document, based on state laws, that provides a person to grant “attorney in fact” status in order to do defined tasks on behalf of the person assigning the authority. In general, the powers are divided into two overarching categories: 1) Health-related and 2) Other tasks, many revolving around financial and property duties.

In Indiana, the State divides health-related appointments into a Healthcare Power of Attorney and Healthcare Representative. The two positions carry different responsibilities, but, because most people want the same person in both positions (as most people do not know there is a difference or why), most attorneys create a single document appointing a person or series of people as both positions.

One big concern many people express when setting up their healthcare powers is whether they maintain their own decision-making. The answer is “Yes.” The transfer of health decision-making happens when you are no longer able to communicate with doctors.

Beyond healthcare decisions, you may appoint a person to help you with banking, real estate, and other transactions. These powers can be granted very broadly – sometimes called a general power of attorney – or narrowly, for example, limited only to banking transactions.  A person needs to be legally competent to execute a power of attorney.

One type is a general durable power of attorney. It is a broad reaching appointment of powers to a person who is charged with using those powers in the best interest of the appointing person. These powers are absolute and active immediately. In one regard, appointing a power of attorney is a safer way to have a person help with banking than putting the person’s name on the account as a joint owner. However, it is important to understand, the person has the legal authority do what he or she is appointed to do without any additional approval.

A person needs to be legally competent to execute a power of attorney.
A challenge is that it may not be needed until a person is incompetent.
 An example of a triggering event is the principal being declared incapacitated. In that example, it is important to define the way(s) the person can be declared incapacitated. 

One strategy that is used to address this is the use of a Springing Durable Power of Attorney. The “durable” status is an indicator that the power of attorney is valid even if the person is declared incapacitated. The “springing” component includes language that holds the executed document in an inactive state until a trigger event occurs at which point it becomes active.

These Essential Documents are an important part of planning.
They are probably not the only thing you need, but they are a great place to start.
What you need them to do, who you want to appoint, and how powers of attorney blend into your plan are specific to you.
You have a few options to get started:

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RG Skadberg, Jr.
Attorney and Co-Founder of CCSK Law & CCSK Info.com

RG is father of two daughters, husband of Ann, attorney and co-founder of CCSK Law and Valparaiso resident for more than 20-years.  His work experience includes education and support of clients in legal planning, non-profit management, fundraising, sales, sales management, and radio.  
He is an entrepreneur who made the commitment to go to law school later in life. He was motivated to learn the law in order to fill a gap between people seeking help with their legal situations and the possible solutions available to them.
He enjoys the opportunity to speak with people, individually and in groups, about their legal questions with a goal that they can walk away with answers they understand.
RG has served several non-profits, including Family House, Inc., The don Quijote Scholarship Endowment, Popcorn Festival, and Christian Community Action as well as Purdue University, officially a non-profit.
He provides more than 50-hours of Pro Bono services in the community annually. In addition, RG presents, speaks, and writes when asked to, about legal and topics of interest in the community.
RG enjoys golf, Purdue sports, and IndyCar in his free time. 

The information provided is for educational purposes only.
It should not be deemed as stand-alone, legal advice. There may be elements and concepts which could be used in planning.
However, such determination would need to be discussed with an attorney to see how it may or may not apply to your specific situation.
Also, your use of this website does not create or establish an attorney/client relationship.