Power of Attorney
A Durable Power of Attorney (POA) allows your spouse (or other trusted person over the age of 18) to manage your financial affairs (as your Attorney-in-Fact) if you become incapacitated. Your Attorney-in-Fact may be granted the power to conduct your banking transactions, manage your real estate affairs, handle your business affairs and perform a variety of other financial tasks that you choose. A POA becomes effective upon its signing and may be revoked at a later date, upon written notice. A POA may be the proper document for you to execute if you are in a present circumstance that warrants such assistance from another person (such as a temporary or permanent disability, if you have a terminal illness, or if you are planning a surgical procedure that will leave you incapacitated for an extended period of time).Springing Power of Attorney
Some individuals worry that if they execute a Durable Power of Attorney when no “emergency” or serious situation exists, and they later experience relationship difficulties with the person whom they have designated as their Attorney-in-Fact, it may be possible for that person to abuse the power by selling off their assets or depleting their bank accounts without their knowledge. This is a valid concern and fortunately, there are simple ways to alleviate this fear by either executing what is known as a Springing Power of Attorney or executing a letter permitting the attorney to provide the power of attorney to the named individual only upon medical documentation of your incapacity.
While a durable POA goes into effect upon its signing, a Springing Power of Attorney only takes effect upon the happening of a specified contingency , such as your physical or mental incapacity. You choose, in advance, the powers that your Attorney-in-Fact will have upon the occurrence of the specified contingency. When and if that contingency occurs, your Attorney-in-Fact must first execute an affidavit stating that the stated contingency has occurred, before he or she can enforce the powers you have conferred. Note that a Springing Power of Attorney may also be revoked at a later date, by written notice.
Your attorney can advise you as to which alternative best suits your needs. It allows you to prepare in advance for unplanned emergencies without conferring powers to your Attorney-in-Fact until your situation warrants it.
In any event, executing a Durable Power of Attorney or a Springing Power of Attorney can avoid the delay and necessity of applying to the Probate Court in the event of incapacity.
For more information on Connecticut Powers of Attorney and your legal rights, contact a Connecticut lawyer at Gryk & Frolich LLC.