Understanding Durable Power of Attorney in New Jersey for Seniors

We live our lives and don’t realize the necessity of a durable power of attorney until we start noticing that the person we admired our whole life is struggling. It could be a partner, elder parent or senior family member who forgot to pay the bills for a second month, and when you ask about it, they assure you the payment was made. Or they fall ill, and you want to choose the best medical care possible for them but can’t because you don’t have a power of attorney (POA).   

When you need an experienced elder law attorney in NJ, SCC Legal is ready to help. We have more than 40 years of experience and often encounter circumstances where a power of attorney would have changed the whole outcome of a situation. In this article, we share how a POA fits into estate planning, why you or a loved one need a financial and medical POA, and how our team can help with the legal steps

Understanding Estate Planning: Power of Attorney 

Many people think an estate plan is the same as drawing up a Last Will and Testament. A will is only one part of the estate planning process. The other documents in the estate plan dictate who should make decisions on your behalf while you are still living but incapacitated for various reasons. It includes a healthcare POA or “Living Will” and a durable power of attorney. When your dignity and hard-earned assets are at stake, estate planning cannot wait.  

The Role of Power of Attorney in Managing Elderly Care  

Do you have strong feelings about being kept alive in certain medical circumstances? Who will make healthcare decisions on your behalf when you are mentally or physically unable to? These questions are answered when you grant someone a medical power of attorney. Also called a “Living Will,” advanced healthcare directive, or proxy directive, it gives you the power to choose who will make medical decisions when you are too ill to make an informed choice.

Financial Power of Attorney: Protecting Your Assets and Interests  

Protect your assets and interests with a financial POA before you become ill or incapacitated, as it comes into effect when you cannot manage your financial affairs. You can select which matters the person you nominated can oversee, including tax matters, real estate transactions, operation of a business entity, or stocks and bonds. Ensure the person nominated for your financial power of attorney is aware of your medical POA preferences if they are not the same nominee.  

Power of Attorney in New Jersey: Legal Steps and Considerations  

In New Jersey, a POA is not durable by default. The law requires a specifically worded statement, and it’s best to appoint experienced NJ estate planning attorneys, when you are setting up a POA. There are several steps to take before a durable power of attorney is legal in NJ.

  • Complete a financial POA form and medical power of attorney forms.
  • Sign the Power of Attorney’s document in the presence of a Notary Public.
  • Keep the original in a safe place where your loved ones can easily access it, and remember to share the details with them.
  • File a copy with the County Clerk’s office and give one to the person you nominated.  

For more information on elder law, or if you want assistance with a durable power of attorney in NJ, please contact our team at SCC Legal today or visit us at: https://www.scclegal.com/

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