Power of attorney is a common legal phrase, and it means the authority to act on behalf of someone else. Power of attorney can cover medical decisions, financial decisions, and a range of other personal decisions that a person may be unable to make for themselves if they become incapacitated.
While working with an attorney to create your estate plan, you’ll be asked to create a Power of Attorney document, which gives someone you trust the legal authority to act on your behalf. And while each state has different laws regarding the specific scope of duties, you can sometimes nominate different people to handle different aspects of your life, like medical and financial.
In New Jersey, Power of Attorney duties include the following:
Durable Power of Attorney. This is most commonly used to appoint someone to make medical decisions on your behalf, and it’s an important component of a comprehensive estate plan. If you become incapacitated due to illness or an accident, a Durable Power of Attorney dictates who will step in and make decisions about your healthcare. You can select one of your children, a trusted family friend, or a trusted medical professional to act on your behalf.
General Power of Attorney. As the name suggests, General Power of Attorney gives the person you nominate the authority to act on your behalf in a wide range of situations including making decisions about your finances, legal decisions, your properties and other assets.
General Power of Attorney is only valid if the person is lucid and deemed competent enough to give permission for their nominee to begin acting on their behalf. If the person becomes incapacitated, or is deemed incompetent as a result of physical or mental illness, the General Power of Attorney becomes invalid, and the Durable Power of Attorney is invoked.
NJ estate planning with SCC Legal
Power of Attorney is something to be taken very seriously, and we recommend consulting with an estate planning attorney before deciding who will act on your behalf. It’s important to nominate people you trust. Not to mention, you may want to grant Power of Attorney to multiple people, meaning you want one person to make your healthcare decisions and a different person to make your financial decisions.
For more information about how our team at SCC Legal can help you create a Power of Attorney document, please contact us today. We’re happy to provide professional guidance regarding Power of Attorney in New Jersey, and other related estate planning matters.