A power of attorney is a device that is used in the legal arena to give someone else the power to act on behalf of the grantor of the power. The individual who is given the power to act as the grantor’s representative is called the agent or attorney-in-fact.
Some people are misled by the term “attorney-in-fact.” To act as an agent under a power of attorney, you don’t actually have to be a lawyer. Any competent adult can act as an agent under a power of attorney. However, the person that is named as an agent must be willing to assume the role.
We specialize in the estate planning field. In our legal niche, durable powers of attorney are often utilized to account for latter life incapacity.
Though it is not the most pleasant subject to address, many people do become unable to make sound decisions toward the end of their lives. There is physical incapacity, and there is also mental incapacity, which is often brought on by Alzheimer’s disease.
If you were to become unable to handle your own affairs without making any advance plans, the state could step in, and a court appointed guardian could become your representative. This is a necessary safeguard, but there are some potential negatives that can come about if a guardianship hearing is convened.
For one, everyone in your family may not agree with the decision of the court, and this can cause acrimony during a time when family members should be providing support for another. There is also the loss of control. The person who is chosen to act for you may not be someone you would’ve chosen on your own.
When you create durable powers of attorney, you empower your own hand-picked decision-makers to act on your behalf if you ever become unable to make decisions on your own. When these documents are in place, there is no need for a guardianship.
The durable designation is relevant. Durable powers of attorney are used because a power of attorney that is durable would remain in effect even if you become incapacitated.
Termination of Power of Attorney
Now that we have provided the necessary background information, we can get to the specific point of this post. A power of attorney would terminate whenever you say that it does when you create the document. You could stipulate a certain termination date; it could terminate when a certain event takes place; or the power can remain in effect throughout the entirety of your life
When you use a durable power of attorney to account for possible incapacity, you would probably want the power to remain effective for the rest of your life, because you are creating the document to account for an end-of-life scenario.
We should point out the fact that any power of attorney would terminate at the time of your death, so the agent would not be empowered to handle the administration of your estate.
Schedule a Consultation
Our firm can help if you would like to create a comprehensive estate plan that addresses possible incapacity. If you are ready to get started, contact us through this page to set up a consultation: Warren NJ Estate Planning Attorneys.