A financial durable power of attorney is one of the most essential legal documents prepared by Stock and Leader attorneys on behalf of their clients. It provides an effective alternative to guardianship proceedings when an individual becomes temporarily or permanently incapacitated, saving the time, expense and loss of privacy that such a proceeding often entails.
When an individual (the “principal”) executes a power of attorney, the principal grants another person (the “agent”) the authority to act on the principal’s behalf according to the authority and powers delineated in the document.
The execution of a power of attorney insures that, upon a client’s incapacitation, a trusted individual, chosen by the principal, handles the client’s most sensitive life decisions on behalf of the client. An effectively drafted power of attorney conveys the client’s values, intentions, and goals and further insures that they be respected and pursued in the event of incapacitation.
One such goal often includes “Medicaid Planning” which seeks to protect an individual’s accumulated wealth from the threat posed by rising healthcare and nursing home costs. Such planning can help increase the financial stability of a client’s spouse or other family members. The language contained in a client’s power of attorney is determinative as to whether an agent acting under the power of attorney may engage in such planning techniques. Carefully crafted language granting the agent appropriate authority is required. Without such language, the agent’s ability to preserve a client’s assets is seriously jeopardized.
Medicaid Planning rules are complex and often in flux, requiring the assistance of experienced professionals skilled in such matters. Contact our Estate Planning Attorneys with any questions concerning the preparation of a power of attorney, Medicaid Planning, or any estate planning matter.