A Financial Power of Attorney legally allows you to empower and appoint another person to handle particular matters on your behalf. The range of these powers is completely up to you, but the majority of couples decide to have all powers authorized. In the case of unmarried or same-sex couples, this becomes a near necessity for running a household whereas for married couples it becomes more of a convenience item unless one of them becomes very ill.
In North Carolina, a Financial Power of Attorney allows a person to handle any of the following – or all of them – on your behalf:
- Personal relationships and affairs
- Real property transactions which includes both home and land
- Estate transactions
- Personal property transactions
- Bond, share and commodity transactions
- Banking and safe deposit transactions
- Tax matters
- Business operating transactions
- Insurance transactions
- Unemployment & Social Security transactions
- Military benefits transactions
- Hiring of agents on your behalf
In addition, the powers you give another person can be effective immediately, after incapacity, or both. A Power of Attorney that is activated upon you becoming incapacitated is sometimes called a Springing Power of Attorney because it “springs” into effect, and Power of Attorney that remains active throughout your life is sometimes referred to as a Durable Power of Attorney. Most of our clients have a “General Durable Power of Attorney.”
While it is crucial to clearly outline what a Power of Attorney provides, it also important to dispel a few of the rumors regarding its use…
- A Power of Attorney is no longer active after a person’s death. State law outlines that a Power of Attorney ends upon death.
- A Power of Attorney is not irreversible, as you may cancel the document by putting your wishes into writing, having it notarized, and filing the document in the Register of Deeds office.
- A person can be very specific about the various powers listed above and may design the power to fit a particular need. There is no reason to grant someone complete power over your finances when all you want to do is allow a person to make deposits for you at a bank.
A family member may not override a Power of Attorney simply because they are related and want to make these decisions. In the absence of abuse for an incapacitated person, a court is likely to simply allow a Power of Attorney agent to continue acting without appointing a different “conservator.”
Although a Power of Attorney is reversible and there is no requirement to give complete authority to a person, use of a Power of Attorney for finances should be carefully and diligently considered prior to anything being signed.
If you have any questions or are interested in obtaining a Power of Attorney for finances and other estate planning needs, then please fill out the form to the far right or contact our office at (919) 844-7993.