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power of attorney

A power of attorney (POA) can be a useful legal tool if old age, illness, or an injury makes it difficult or impossible to make financial, legal, and medical decisions for yourself. While your loved ones may want to step in to handle your affairs, they may not have the authority to do so, which may delay decision-making and jeopardize your interests. Your family members may also have disputes over how you would make decisions or what choice would serve your best interests.

Executing powers of attorney while you remain healthy and of sound mind can provide you with confidence and peace of mind knowing that someone you trust can handle your affairs if the worst happens. Contact an Arizona estate planning attorney from Pennington Law, PLLC, for help.

With many years of estate planning experience, our legal team has the knowledge and skills to provide you with trusted advice and tailored legal solutions no matter your background and circumstances. You can trust us to help secure your interests and future. Our attorneys know that addressing personal care and end-of-life issues can seem stressful. We offer a compassionate, empathetic environment so you can discuss your situation openly and make the best decisions for yourself and your family.

Contact Pennington Law, PLLC, today for a free initial case evaluation to learn more about how powers of attorney can serve a critical role in your estate plan. Let a West Valley Arizona power of attorney lawyer help you draft a power of attorney document that protects your interests and future. Our firm serves clients in Surprise, Sun City, Peoria, Buckeye, and the surrounding communities.

What Is Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney refers to a document that gives one or more people the authority to act on your behalf as an agent. A power of attorney may authorize your agent, also called an attorney-in-fact, to handle any personal matter you may have, or you may only authorize your agent to address a limited set of issues.

You can design a power of attorney to last indefinitely or for a limited time. Powers of attorney can go into effect immediately, or you can establish contingencies that must occur before your designated agent can act as your attorney-in-fact in a “springing” power-of-attorney.

Creating a power of attorney allows you to avoid the expense and notoriety of a public court hearing to have a guardian or conservator appointed if you become incapacitated or otherwise unable to act on your behalf.

What Are Common Types of Power of Attorney?

Some of the most common types of powers of attorney used in estate planning include the following:

General Power of Attorney

With a general power of attorney, your attorney-in-fact can handle any personal, financial, or legal matters you have. However, you can identify specific issues that you don’t want to give your attorney-in-fact power to handle in your stead. A general power of attorney usually lasts for the duration stated in the document or until you become mentally incapacitated, unless you include language that makes the document a durable power of attorney.

Financial Management (Durable Financial Power of Attorney)

You may use a durable financial power of attorney to authorize a loved one to handle your finances if you become incapacitated. Your attorney-in-fact can pay your bills and manage your finances for you. As people age, they may consider adopting a durable financial power of attorney to protect themselves from scams or people seeking undue influence over them.

Authority to Make Medical Decisions (Medical Power of Attorney)

A medical power of attorney authorizes someone to make decisions regarding your medical treatment or end-of-life care if you cannot give instructions or express your wishes due to physical or mental incapacity. You may use a durable medical power of attorney as part of an advance directive plan, in conjunction with a living will, to empower and instruct a loved one to handle your medical or end-of-life matters.

Representation for Legal and Business Matters

A power of attorney can also grant an agent the authority to act for a principal in business and legal issues, such as signing contracts. You might use this type of power of attorney if you own and run a business on your own, because you can empower someone to continue managing the company if you become incapacitated.

When Is a Power of Attorney Necessary in Arizona?

Some of the reasons why you might execute a power of attorney in Arizona include:

  • To authorize someone to act on your behalf for legal, financial, or medical matters if you become incapacitated.
  • To enable a trusted family member, friend, or advisor to handle your affairs here in Arizona (such as paying your bills or maintaining your home) if you live overseas or travel frequently.
  • To protect an elderly or vulnerable person who cannot manage their legal or financial affairs or who might fall prey to scams or people trying to exercise undue influence.
  • If you have a long-term or terminal illness that may hinder you when deciding your treatment or end-of-life care.
  • To authorize a family member to apply for Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, or other government benefits for you.

What Are the Benefits of a Power of Attorney?

Among the benefits of including powers of attorney in your estate plan:

  • You have the ability to choose who will make decisions for you if you become incapacitated, rather than having a court appoint a guardian/conservator or having your loved ones fight amongst themselves.
  • It avoids the cost of guardianship or conservatorship if you later need someone to manage your affairs.
  • It allows you to sit down with your family and designated attorney-in-fact to discuss your wishes and goals.
  • It avoids disputes if your loved ones perceive your intent and wishes differently.
  • It protects you from the risk of financial abuse.
  • It takes the stress of dealing with banks, service professionals, and government agencies off your shoulders.
  • It avoids delays if you need to engage in asset protection planning to become eligible for government benefits after suffering a significant disability.
  • It provides you with peace of mind knowing you have someone in place to handle your affairs if necessary.

What Are the Requirements for AZ Power of Attorney?

Arizona law imposes specific requirements for establishing a power of attorney:

  • The person making the power of attorney, the designated attorney-in-fact, and any witnesses to the POA must be at least 18 years old and of sound mind, which means having the ability to understand the nature and effect of a power of attorney.
  • The grantor must sign a power of attorney in the presence of a notary public and at least one witness. The agent, the agent’s spouse or children, and the notary public may not serve as witnesses.
  • The power of attorney document must include language that clearly states your intent to create a POA, identify the agent, and include an affidavit statement in a form substantially similar to the one contained in the Arizona statute.
  • A durable power of attorney must include a provision that states, “This power of attorney is not affected by subsequent disability or incapacity of the principal or lapse of time,” “This power of attorney is effective on the disability or incapacity of the principal,” or other similar language.

How Am I Able to Get a Power of Attorney in Arizona?

The first step in establishing a power of attorney in Arizona involves selecting someone you can trust to handle your medical, financial, or legal affairs. It would help if you also considered what scope of authority you want to grant your attorney-in-fact and under what circumstances your agent may exercise their powers. For example, you may want your power of attorney to become effective only if you suffer a physical or mental incapacity that renders you unable to handle your affairs. You should also decide if you want an ordinary power of attorney or a durable power of attorney.

Although you can draft a power of attorney yourself, you should consider retaining a lawyer to assist you with drawing up a power of attorney. A lawyer can ensure your POA meets state law requirements. In addition, the attorney can draft a document that accurately reflects your intentions and the scope of authority you want to confer on your attorney-in-fact.

What a West Valley Estate Planning Lawyer Can Do for Your Power of Attorney Needs

When you turn to Pennington Law, PLLC, for help with a power of attorney, you can expect our estate planning lawyers to:

  • Sit down to discuss your estate planning goals and advise you on the suitability of powers of attorney for your interests.
  • Guide you through deciding on the terms of your power of attorney and selecting your attorney-in-fact.
  • Draft a valid and enforceable document and help you properly execute the POA.
  • Explain your rights and obligations under a power of attorney.
  • Provide copies of the POA to your attorney-in-fact, so they have proof of their authority to act on your behalf.

Contact an Arizona Powers of Attorney Lawyer Today

Contact an Arizona power of attorney lawyer from Pennington Law, PLLC, for a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss how our firm can help you with the estate planning process.

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