Durable Power of Attorney
Durable General Power of Attorney is an important and potentially powerful document for elder care planning. The Power of Attorney allows a person (the “principal”) to grant another person (the “agent”) the authority to act on the principal’s behalf, to manage his or her assets, make legal decisions and enter into transactions with regard to both business and personal affairs (excluding decisions regarding healthcare that are covered by a separate document called a Health Care Proxy or MOLST). The agent, who must be an adult, is the principal’s fiduciary, meaning he or she must act according to the principal’s wishes, or if the principal becomes incompetent, act in the best interests of the principal.
- Because a Power of Attorney authorizes the agent to step into the shoes of the principal and, therefore, allows an agent to transfer, sell or dispose of property and otherwise manage his or her financial affairs, the agent should be a person the principal trusts implicitly.
- The principal must understand the scope of authority he or she is delegating to another person.
- The authority may include the power to make gifts of significant assets, to change beneficiary designations or to establish trusts.
- The Power of Attorney is often an essential document used to accomplish asset protection and Medicaid planning.
- New York State recently revised the Power of Attorney to include a Statutory Gifts Rider. Our attorneys will review an existing Power of Attorney to determine whether execution of a new Power of Attorney with Statutory Gifts Rider is recommended.