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McCurrie McCurrie
& McCurrie, L.L.C.

680 Kearny Avenue
Kearny, NJ 07032-3010
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Understanding powers of attorney in estate planning

Most people in New Jersey are not aware of how a designated power of attorney works. In cases where a person becomes unable to make certain decisions on his or her own, the power of attorney can be assigned. Generally speaking, there are several types of powers of attorney, and they deal with financial aspects and health directives.

In a "Durable Power of Attorney," the authority of the designee is not ended if the person passes away or becomes disabled. Conversely, a “Non-Durable Power of Attorney” is no longer in effect if the person becomes incapacitated.

Another type of power of attorney is called a “Special Power of Attorney.” This type of arrangement allows a designee to do certain things of a specific nature. These activities are generally very precisely outlined in the document.

A "Springing Power of Attorney" may have a full range of parameters regarding management of affairs involving incapacitation. One potential problem is that the financial institution may require absolute authenticity of incapacitation. This may require the signatures of one or more physicians. In the interim, management of the principal’s affairs could be suspended.

New Jersey requires that all agreements must be notarized or witnessed by a person with the authority to certify public documents. This notarized document will be passed to the financial institution, which is expected to honor the agreement unless they suspect it is not authentic. One expert ascertains that many institutions will be conservative in their preference to wait to confirm the death or disability of the principal party in attempts to avoid fraud and to protect themselves from liability.

If you are involved in an agreement with someone who has designated you his or her power of attorney, it is advisable to seek information about this responsibility from an experienced legal professional. If you already have one, it is suggested that it be reviewed by such a person to make sure it follows the laws of the state of New Jersey.

Source: Source: "Your Money: The truth about 'power of attorney' documents," Karin Price Mueller, July 1, 2014

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