Boston Power Of Attorney
Most people are familiar with what a will is, and how it works. It’s a common legal document that instructs your heirs what to do after your death. But many are not so familiar with power of attorney.
A Massachusetts power of attorney enables you to continue your financial affairs when you are disabled or incapacitated by giving someone else complete control of your affairs.
A power of attorney (POA) is used to avoid the expensive process of conservatorship or guardianship should you ever become incapacitated.
And in Massachusetts, there are two options in regards to setting-up a power of attorney, springing power of attorney and durable power of attorney.
Springing Power of Attorney
The Springing POA goes into effect after an “event” – for instance, in the event you become incapacitated and are unable to make decisions.
But the Springing POA requires that two physicians certify that you are indeed incapacitated. That puts the doctors in a tough situation because they typically don’t want to be involved in what is normally treated as a family decision.
The end result is that even if you have a Springing POA, you, and your family, will likely end up in court with a judge deciding how decisions are made regarding your affairs.
Durable Power of Attorney
The Durable POA, however, is in effect the moment it’s signed and cannot be challenged. That is why I only recommend Durable POA’s for my clients.
I find that many of my clients have an issue with giving someone else complete control of their affairs should they become incapacitated. It really is a must-do for any estate plan because the alternative – allowing the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to decide your affairs – is a drawn-out and expensive affair that drags your family into a situation that they do not need to experience.
Due to the “control” issue, a common question my clients ask is, “What do I do with the POA once it’s signed?”
The first piece of advice I offer is do not put the POA in a safe deposit box. If it’s in the safe deposit box and you become incapacitated, your POA won’t be able to help because he or she needs the POA document to even access the safe deposit box.
And the second piece of advice is – do not give the document to the POA. Keep it in a safe place in your home and let your POA know where it is so they can get to it should it ever be needed.
If you need assistance in drafting a thorough power of attorney, or want to discuss creative and effective estate planning, give me a call at (617) 273-5110 or e-mail me here.