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McCurrie McCurrie
& McCurrie, L.L.C.

680 Kearny Avenue
Kearny, NJ 07032-3010
Phone: (201) 467-4180
Fax: (201) 997-9567
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Creating a Power of Attorney an Important Step in Estate Planning

A power of attorney is one of those important documents that can be critical in the event that something happens to you. We've mentioned those documents before, but it might worth spending a little more time talking about what they are, what they are good for, and how they are created.

First of all, a power of attorney is simply a document that allows another person to act for you in the event that you are not able to act for yourself. The person you appoint, sometimes called the attorney-in-fact, can use the power you grant to them to make financial decisions, deal with assets and creditors, and so on based on which powers you grant them in the document. The person you select has a duty to act in your interests and that duty can generally be enforced in court if need be.

A power of attorney is especially useful in a situation where someone becomes incapacitated. In that scenario, the person appointed as an attorney-in-fact can act in the place of the incapacitated individual and make decisions under the authority granted by the power of attorney. One of the nice features of this arrangement is that it allows someone with authority to make decisions without necessitating a hearing to establish a guardianship, which may take time and may be painful or humiliating to family members.

In our next post, we will discuss powers of attorney in a little more detail and talk about issues such as when powers of attorney become effective and how to choose the individual to act as your attorney-in-fact.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Elder Law: trust is important with powers of attorney, Julian Gray and Frank Petrich, 12/26/10

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