This is the next post in our series on the creation of estate plans for those in Hartford and elsewhere in Connecticut. Our last article discussed incorporating a living trust into your estate planning strategy. The use of such a trust can provide you with increased flexibility while allowing a number of your assets to not be included in the probate process. An experienced attorney can assist you with creating such a trust in a way which will meet your goals. In this article we will discuss another important issue – the need for a power of attorney. If you or a loved one require assistance then contact our office today to speak with a lawyer.
A power of an attorney is an instrument which grants another the authority to make decisions regarding the personal and/or financial issues of the individual signing the power of attorney. The authority can pertain to medical decisions, financial issues, or both. The individual receiving the authority will only have as much power as the instrument grants. This means, for example, that if the power of attorney states that one can make decisions in regards to only one particular financial transaction, then that will be the limit of their power. A power of attorney can be “durable” or “non-durable.” Durable instruments are in effect until the person granting authority revokes them. Non-durable instruments are only in effect until a specific time or event, which will be spelled out in the document, has passed or occurred. In Connecticut, powers of attorney are considered durable unless they explicitly state otherwise.
There are several reasons why a power of attorney should be included in one’s estate plan. If you or a loved one are hospitalized, or otherwise incapacitated, then someone may need to make important medical decisions on your behalf. These can include decisions regarding surgeries, the administration of medication, and more. Also, if you are left unable to manage your affairs, then a power of attorney can allow another to pay your bills and manage your assets. The more complicated your financial portfolio then the more important it is that you have a plan in place which will protect you when unforeseen events arise.
A point we cannot stress enough is that a power of attorney must be specifically tailored to your particular situation. Taking a “one size fits all” approach, or using a “form” document, can result in the instrument granting someone more power than you wished or, conversely, not granting the power needed to adequately conduct your affairs. By discussing your situation with qualified counsel, you help to increase the chances that the instrument will be properly tailored to your needs.
Our Hartford estate planning lawyers assist with creating powers of attorney. We pride ourselves on providing the highest levels of service and we are ready to assist you. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation. We also service the Connecticut areas of Wethersfield, New Britain, Bristol, Rocky Hill, West Hartford, East Hartford, Glastonbury, and Manchester, as well as the Middlesex County cities of Middletown and Cromwell.