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Power Of Attorney

However, most individuals fail to recognize the importance of having an estate plan in place to handle the legal problems that arise upon one’s death. However, many individuals fail to engage in “lifetime planning” to deal with the serious legal and management problems that may result from aging, illness or incapacity, including the potential need for long-term care.

Advance planning for possible future incapacity should include a Durable Power of Attorney to authorize a designated person to handle legal, tax and financial matters for you. Such a power can be general, permitting the “attorney-in-fact” (also known as the “agent”) to handle all financial matters, or it may be limited in any way the grantor of the power (called the “principal”) wishes. A “durable” power of attorney expressly survives the future incapacity of the grantor, or may be structured to only take effect in the event of such incapacity. It is revocable at any time, and is effective only during the principal’s lifetime. In other words, it expires at your death, at which time your Will takes over.

When properly drafted, a durable power of attorney should eliminate the need for any costly future Court proceedings to declare the principal incapacitated. If there is not a properly drafted Durable Power of Attorney, it may be necessary to seek court appointment of a person to serve as guardian to handle the affairs of an incapacitated person. In addition to saving time and money by avoiding court proceedings, a power of attorney ensures that the principal can choose the person or persons who will act on his or her behalf, rather than the person or persons who would be selected by New Jersey statute and/or the Court.

The Power of Attorney should be prepared at the same time as you prepare your Last Will and Testament, and should be revised and updated every three to five years.