You may already have a will to ensure that your assets are distributed to your chosen heirs as efficiently as possible when you die. But have you given any thought to what could happen if you were to become so incapacitated that you could not handle your own financial, business, and personal affairs before you die?
You’ve Planned for Your Death—but What about an Incapacitating Accident or Illness?
It can be disturbing to contemplate, but the sad truth is that many people face weeks, months, or years of incapacitation before their death. And many people simply don’t consider the potential consequences of failing to plan for such an eventuality. If you haven’t taken the time to put your wishes in writing and to appoint a trusted person or institution to act in your stead, that task will fall to the courts.
In New Jersey, you have the right to create a directive that will allow the person of your choice to assume control of your affairs, without the necessity of a court proceeding, by signing New Jersey General Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA). Because you would probably prefer to keep matters in your own hands and avoid court intervention, you should discuss creating this important document with your estates and trusts attorney.
Advantages of a New Jersey Durable Power of Attorney
- You are able to exert control now so will not have to rely on the legal system later.
- Your dependents are relieved of the uncertainty of how to handle matters they’ve always relied on you to take care of.
- There is no time lag between your incapacitation and your appointee’s assuming of power, whereas a court proceeding requires time and is an expense that you can spare your family.
- The risk of losing assets through lack of attention is minimized when a trusted person steps in immediately.
Powers You May Grant in Your DPOA
These are some of the powers that you should consider granting in your DPOA:
- The ability to apply for Medicaid benefits and pay for healthcare services for you
- Access to your bank accounts and ability to make banking transactions for you
- The authority to buy, sell or lease, or manage your real property
- The right to handle your legal matters
- Access to your safety deposit box
- The power to handle your retirement benefits and insurance
- The authority to file tax returns for you
- The ability to exercise your stockholder rights
- The ability to enter into contracts for services on your behalf
- The right to collect and deposit your Social Security and other benefits
- The ability to exercise your rights over your living trusts
Don’t Wait until it is Too Late: Talk to Your New Jersey Estates and Trusts Lawyer Today
Using the services of a knowledgeable New Jersey estates and trusts attorney is always your best bet when creating a Durable Power of Attorney. Your attorney will consider your entire personal, business, and financial situation to determine what duties the person or institution will need to assume on your behalf, and will make certain that the DPOA is complete and unambiguous in the powers it conveys. Your attorney will also usually recommend that you select a secondary appointee with a backup DPOA, in the event your first choice becomes unavailable or incapable of acting for you.
Life is not always predictable. It is up to you to plan for every eventuality. If you are a New Jersey resident living in Atlantic or Cape May Counties, you have the opportunity to work with a highly experienced law firm conveniently located near your home in North Wildwood or Egg Harbor Township. Take control of your future by consulting with the estate planning attorneys at Barnes Law Group, LLC, today, and put our fifty-plus years of experience to work for you.