A power of attorney (POA) document is an essential part of any useful estate planning endeavor. In short, it details your wishes and directions should you be incapacitated or otherwise unable to make those decisions for yourself. The document outlines who you’d like to put in a legal authority position to make those determinations in that instance.
As with all legal documents, there’s a right and wrong way to create these and this post will help outline some of the basic things to know.
Hire an Estate Planning Attorney
Your first step should be to interview and select an Arkansas estate planning attorney to assist in creating these documents. Arkansas estate law has many intricacies and attempting to create POAs on your own could leave you and your wishes vulnerable to legal loopholes.
Determining Limited vs. General Power
Depending on the level of comfort you have with relieving your financial powers, you can designate your agent to have specific control over specific financial decisions, such as pertinent ongoing bills or property transactions. A “general” power of attorney gives the agent the authority to handle all financial or healthcare decisions unless you say otherwise. There are also opportunities to call out when the POA should take effect (as in immediately following a specific incident or circumstantial threshold).
A Note About Durable Powers of Attorney
A durable power of attorney accounts for the agent to retain authority once the document’s creator becomes incapacitated. If you don’t fully recover from your incapacitation and need someone to continue making those decisions, a durable POA keeps that power for that person in place.
A healthcare POA works in a similar way marking authority for specific care and life-sustaining decisions should you not be able to make them on your own. Healthcare POAs often work in conjunction with a living will, which expresses wishes for life support or other ongoing care in the most serious of situations.
Arkansas estate law is complex, and the best way to ensure your wishes are fulfilled is to work with a competent and professional estate planning attorney. Having a plan in place for some of life’s most important decisions is a task that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Natural State Law is a go-to source for clients across Little Rock and the rest of the state, and they’re here to help. Call (501) 916-2878 to schedule a free consultation.