Many people prepare for what will happen to their assets after they’re gone, yet not nearly as many people prepare for what would happen to their assets if they become physically or mentally incapacitated.

If you were to become incapacitated and stopped paying your health insurance and/ or your disability insurance, you could quickly be cancelled for non-payment at a time you need the insurance the most.

If you were to fail to pay your rent or mortgage, you could face eviction or foreclosure. Utilities can also be turned off for non-payment.If you became physically or mentally incapable of handling your own affairs, a family member could apply in the court for the appointment of a guardian, yet such a proceeding can be expensive and can take a long time to complete, allowing for a significant wasting of assets in the interim. Also, the Court Appointed Guardian would be entitled to a fee, further depleting your assets.

Luckily, there is a relatively simple legal instrument, which is a much better means of handling this type of circumstance. This instrument is a power of attorney and is some times referred to as a springing power of attorney. With a power of attorney, you can specify who has legal authority to take over your affairs, on your behalf, should you become incapacitated. With a power of attorney, the principal(person who the power of attorney is created for) can decide the parameters and authority given to the agent(person who is authorized to act on behalf of the principal) and under what circumstances the agent is given authority to act, thereby avoiding the expense, time and aggravation of a guardianship proceeding.

Attorneys who handle Trust and Estate matters can draft Powers of attorneys for their clients, either as a single document or in combination with preparation of other estate planning documents.

Woolfson & Chuang, PLLC  Trust and Estate Attornieys     325 Broadway  suite 404  New York, NY 10007      212-960-3898

Live for today BUT plan for tomorrow.