A Forest City power of attorney lawyer with Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC can assist you with estate planning. We can do the legal work necessary to protect your wishes if you cannot make decisions due to mental or physical disability. We will draft and file binding documents ensuring your loved ones honor your medical and financial directives.
What Is a Power of Attorney, and Do You Need One?
A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that grants another party the right to act on your behalf if you become physically or mentally incapacitated due to an illness or injury. A POA typically refers to you as the principal and your named representative as the agent.
It may seem unlikely that you would need a POA, but arranging your affairs in advance can protect your assets and help your family honor your wishes if the unthinkable happens. In addition, nearly everyone can benefit from having a power of attorney, not just the elderly or those with medical issues.
What Does a Power of Attorney Include?
Our Forest City power of attorney lawyers can review your case to determine your needs and create a document suited to you. The powers granted to your agent and the instructions included within will depend on the type of POA you have:
A general POA allows your agent to act legally or financially on your behalf. You set the terms of what actions they can take, which may include:
- Opening or closing a bank account
- Buying or selling property
- Invoking or waiving contractual rights
- Deciding how to run your business (if you own one)
- Deciding how your estate will pay your taxes
However, under the North Carolina Uniform Power of Attorney Act, there are certain things a general POA cannot do. For example, G.S. § 32C-1-103 forbids your agent from making medical decisions or exercising your voting rights.
Because the law does not allow a general POA to grant authority to make health care decisions, you will need a separate healthcare POA authorizing an agent to do so. This document can also include your wishes regarding medical care, such as whether you want to employ life-support measures or donate your organs after death.
A special POA gives an agent the authority to complete a specific task, such as selling a property or signing a contract in your absence. A temporary POA is similar, but rather than restricting the scope of the agent’s powers, it limits the duration of the agreement. For example, it may give an agent authority to act while you are out of the country or recovering from an injury.
Who Should Act as Your Power of Attorney?
You set the parameters of your POA and stipulate what authority you want your agent to have. However, whoever you select will likely have to make important legal, financial, and medical decisions. An agent does not need any special qualifications. However, you should choose someone who is trustworthy and reliable.
Many people name a family member, but your agent does not need to be a relative. It is also a good idea to name a co-agent or successor agents who can act if your primary agent cannot. Other things to consider when selecting an agent are as follows:
- Do they live nearby? If possible, name an agent who lives locally so that they can act promptly in a medical emergency or deal with time-sensitive financial or legal issues.
- Do they have time? Acting as POA can take a lot of time and effort. Make sure your agent has the hours and energy necessary to devote to the task.
- Will they advocate for you? Your agent’s job is to carry out your instructions, even in emotionally charged situations. Therefore, you want someone who can communicate effectively with doctors, family members, and others to ensure they follow your directives. You also want an agent who can understand medical and financial issues and ask questions when needed.
How Long Does a Power of Attorney Last?
Your power of attorney becomes effective upon filing it with the courts. Unless otherwise specified, G.S. § 32C-1-104 states that POAs in North Carolina are durable. This means the document remains in effect until:
- The principal dies
- The principal terminates or revokes the POA
- The agent resigns
- The agent dies or becomes incapacitated (and there are no other named agents)
- The agent is your spouse, and you get divorced (unless the POA directs otherwise)
If you do not want a durable POA, our lawyers can help you set parameters in the document. We can also stipulate a springing POA, which becomes effective only when you suffer a physical or mental disability, not before.
How Can Our Power of Attorney Lawyers Assist You?
Our Forest City power of attorney lawyers can help you in the following ways:
- Discuss your needs and craft the right POA for you
- Draft your POA and ensure all parties correctly sign the document before a notary
- File documents with the court and complete the necessary paperwork
- Revise existing POAs
- Prepare and file other estate planning documents, such as wills or guardianships
- Assist with estate probate and dissolution
Client Service Is Our Focus
We know that estate planning can be emotional. We want to offer you compassionate and personalized legal advice as you make important decisions about your finances and health care.
Our firm has multiple attorneys on staff who can help with a variety of legal needs, from wills and probate to family law to personal injury. Our commitment to our clients and focus on service have led the Daily Courier Readers’ Poll to name us Rutherford County’s Best since 2011.
Contact Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC for Help Establishing Your POA
Contact Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC to learn more about how our Forest City power of attorney lawyer can assist with all of your estate planning needs. We can help protect you, your rights, and your assets.