This is the next post in our series on the importance of estate planning for Atlanta, Georgia residents. Our last article discussed why estate plans should include a Medical Power of Attorney. Creating such a document will allow a person to designate someone to make medical decisions on their behalf during times of incapacitation. This works to protect one’s wishes while preventing fighting amongst their loved ones. In this article we will discuss the importance of a Financial Power of attorney. If you require assistance then contact our office today to speak with a lawyer.
Financial Powers of Attorney are documents which allow for the designation of someone to make financial decisions, on your behalf, in the event that you are incapacitated or unavailable. The extent to which you grant such power can be as broad or as narrow as you wish. For example, if you know you are going to be unavailable for a period of a few days while recovering from surgery then authority can be granted allowing someone to complete a specific transaction during that time. They would have no other authority over your finances. On the other end of the spectrum, the document can grant someone complete control over your finances during any period of incapacity or unavailability. The extent to which you grant someone such authority will depend on your specific circumstances and wishes.
One benefit of granting financial authority is that it protects your interests in the event that you are hospitalized. If, for example, you are involved in an accident and are comatose then others would not be able to access your bank accounts. This could result in your bills going unpaid, your home possibly slipping into foreclosure, and negative marks against your credit. By putting limitations in place, as to how your affairs are handled, the document can also prevent family or friends from mismanaging your finances during a time of emergency. When consulting with counsel it is important to determine who it is you will be granting authority, the number of issues over which that person has authority, the circumstances under which they can make decisions on your behalf, and the amount of time which their decision-making power will last.
When preparing a Financial Power of Attorney it is important to consider all the possible scenarios in which you will wish for the document to apply. If a situation arises which falls outside of the document’s scope then you will be in a situation in which you are unprotected. Our Atlanta estate planning lawyers assist with the creation of such arrangements and we will help you to understand your options. Contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation. We also service areas including Macon, Savannah, Athens, Kennesaw, Marietta, Decatur, Dunwoody, Stone Mountain, Tucker, Alpharetta, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Duluth, Lawrenceville, Lilburn, Norcross, Gainesville, as well as the counties of Bibb, Chatham, Clarke, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton, Gwinnett, and Richmond. We also assist those elsewhere in the state of Georgia and throughout the United States.