Our Skilled New York Estate Planning Attorneys Help You Name a Durable Power of Attorney
If you become incapacitated and don’t have a durable power of attorney, the courts assign a guardian for you. Unfortunately, this person may not be someone you’d choose—and might even be a stranger. The estate planning attorneys at Landskind and Ricaforte understand how important it is to have the right person in place to act on your behalf—someone you trust and who cares about you. Schedule a free consultation with the legal team at Landskind and Ricaforte to discuss how to protect your future by establishing a durable power of attorney.
Advantages of Designating a Durable Power of Attorney
It’s possible that a sudden illness or accident could leave you in a coma or otherwise incapacitated. If this happens, and you haven’t designated a trusted friend, family member, or attorney to make decisions about your medical care, imagine a stranger being appointed by the court to make those decisions for you. This is what can happen if you haven’t named someone to handle your medical affairs.
However, someone you choose and trust to handle vital decisions on your behalf makes all the difference. The person you name as a durable power of attorney can:
- Ensure that your medical wishes are followed as you desire.
- Act on your behalf and carry out your end-of-life care.
- Handle the financial requirements related to your medical care.
- Helps you avoid conservatorship or guardianship proceedings.
It's especially important for married couples to understand that a spouse doesn’t automatically have power of attorney if their partner is incapacitated. Each spouse must designate their own.
How You Create a Durable Power of Attorney
Whether you use an attorney to help you or create a durable power of attorney on your own, there are a few things required to make this a legal document:
- Be 18 or older
- You must have the mental capacity to understand the nature of a durable power of attorney and the consequences of putting it to use
- Write or type your durable power of attorney so that it’s legible
- Sign and date your durable power of attorney in front of two witnesses
- Have your durable power of attorney notarized—in New York, one of your witnesses can be your notary
- Have your agent sign and date the durable power of attorney
Why Hire a New York Estate Planning Attorney to Help You Name a Durable Power of Attorney?
A durable power of attorney is a legal document that grants someone, known as an "agent", the power to make decisions for you, giving them broad or limited authority depending on what you want them to do. While you don’t need legal counsel to create this directive, hiring an experienced estate planning attorney can be beneficial for a variety of reasons, including:
- They ensure that your document meets all the New York legal requirements of execution, and includes the correct legal language and necessary specific wording.
- They’ll verify that the durable power of attorney is signed, dated, and notarized.
- Your estate planning lawyer will also attest that you signed the durable power of attorney with a “sound mental capacity.”
- Based on your needs, your attorney advises you on whether to create a durable or springing power of attorney.
Because a durable power of attorney is a crucial document that gives a great deal of power to the agent, it’s important that a skilled, experienced estate planning lawyer review it for accuracy and that it meets New York requirements. If you want to later change the document by naming someone else as agent, you can also do this without legal assistance. However, your lawyer can ensure those changes are legally binding.
Creating a durable power of attorney can be a challenging and confusing task, especially when it involves life and death decisions. But we’re available to help. Talk to Renata Landskind or Terence Ricaforte to discuss your estate planning needs today.