(PRWEB) October 19, 2012
The Law Firm of Pozzuolo Rodden P.C., announces the release of Estate Planning: My father is 73 years old and in good health. Should he have a power of attorney document? Below is a sample of the first couple of paragraphs. If you would like to read more, please read the full article and other corporate law, or estate planning topics at http://www.pozzuolo.com/Pubs_Newsletters.shtml
The answer is yes. First, no one is immune to old age. Everyone’s health will fail eventually, their mental acuity will decline, and their ability to function and manage their day to day lives will falter. In your father’s case, despite his good health, his age dictates that he should have a power of attorney document. He may be healthy now, but at his age, once his physical and mental health begins to decline, it may decline rapidly.
Second, no one is immune to emergency. That is, your father could suddenly have a stroke or heart attack and be left in a vegetative state. At that point, it will be too late to have him sign a power of attorney. Still, he will need someone to handle the business of his life such as paying bills, managing investments or making key financial decisions. He also will need someone to oversee his healthcare and make important medical decisions for him. A power of attorney puts a plan in place in case of failing physical and mental health, or in case of emergency. A power of attorney allows your father, the principal, to appoint another person, his agent or attorney in-fact, to manage his affairs, whether financial, health or otherwise, in accordance with the powers granted to the agent under the document. There are two kinds of power of attorney documents: (1) springing power of attorney; and (2) durable power of attorney. A springing power of attorney only goes into effect upon the incapacitation of the principal. In other words, suppose your father had a stroke and was left in a vegetative state, and he had appointed you as his agent under his springing power of attorney. In order for you to act as his agent, you would have to obtain statements or certificates exercised by one or two doctors stating that your father is, in fact, incapacitated. Only then could you exercise the powers granted to you under the document.
A durable power of attorney, on the other hand, takes effect immediately upon execution. The agent does not need to prove that the principal is incapacitated. The agent will be able to exercise immediately all the powers granted to him under the power of attorney document.
Within the power of attorney, your father can designate its purpose and the powers granted to his agent. He could give his agent financial decision making power, such as the power to pay his bills, open or close his bank accounts, or sell or buy property. Your father could grant to his agent the power to make healthcare decisions on his behalf, so that agent may oversee and make decisions regarding his health and medical care. For example, the agent could be granted the power to make end of life decisions, such as to keep your father on life support, or whether to admit your father to a medical institution.
Finally, your father should execute a power of attorney now in order to prevent later family distress. Suppose your father becomes incapacitated without having executed a power of attorney. At that point, his family would have to go through the process of petitioning the local probate court to have a guardian or conservator appointed for him and his estate. Seeking guardianship may be a costly and drawn out legal process, and in the end, the court may not appoint whomever you seek to have appointed guardian. Add to that the fact your family may be struggling emotionally with the incapacitation of your father, and the process becomes a greater burden. In the event a guardian is appointed, that guardian then must operate under the watch of the court rather than through the powers which would have been expressly granted to him under a power of attorney document.
If you would like to read more, please read the full article Estate Planning: "My father is 73 years old and in good health. Should he have a power of attorney document?" and other corporate law or estate planning topics at http://www.pozzuolo.com/Pubs_Newsletters.shtml
Pozzuolo Rodden, P.C. provides specialized cost-effective legal services to privately held business owners and high-net-worth clients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey in excess of 35 years.
Business planning and transaction, complex business litigation, commercial real estate and development, construction law and litigation, advanced estate planning and administration, tax and pension law, high profile and intricate family litigation, and employment law and litigation.
Pozzuolo Rodden, P.C.
Counselors at Law
2033 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103