Do You Need Power of Attorney?
When looking ahead to the future of your health and finances, it’s important to prepare for the unexpected.
You might wonder what will happen if you are ever unable to make decisions on your own. It may be that you’re approaching a significant medical procedure that will leave you temporarily incapacitated, or you anticipate that a medical condition may someday make it difficult or impossible to speak for yourself. Alternately, you might be in perfect health, but know that your career, hobby, or lifestyle in general comes with risks, and you want to be prepared.
A power of attorney grants an individual the authority to make decisions based on your known wishes. You may have a family member or loved one you trust will respect your wishes and act on your behalf. Or, perhaps you feel unsure about the best way to protect yourself, your assets, and your loved ones.
An estate planning lawyer can help you take control of your future. But, what exactly is an Arkansas power of attorney? And how does it work?
Financial & Medical Power of Attorney in Arkansas
There are two main types of power of attorney: financial and medical.
A financial power of attorney allows you to name a trusted person to make financial decisions on your behalf. This includes:
- buying or selling property
- paying bills
- managing investments
- dealing with the Social Security Administration, local banks, and the IRS
A medical power of attorney allows you to name someone to receive information and make decisions regarding your healthcare. This includes:
- confirming whether or not you are in the hospital
- communicating with physicians and staff
- accessing and sharing medical records
- employing physicians
Without a medical power of attorney, doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers are not authorized to disclose any healthcare information, not even to family members and spouses.
It is important to note that a medical power of attorney does not grant authority to withhold medical treatment. To grant this authority, you will need a living will.
Establishing Power of Attorney in Arkansas
To establish an Arkansas power of attorney, you must designate an “agent” to make decisions for you, “the principal.” You can also designate one or two successor—or substitute—agents in case the primary agent is not available.
You—or someone acting for you, in your presence—and at least two competent witnesses over the age of 18 must sign the power of attorney document for it to be legally binding. Then, it can take effect immediately.
To schedule a complimentary consultation to discuss your estate planning needs, call Ben T. Roberds and the Roberds Law Firm at (479) 464-0904.
“What Is a Durable Power of Attorney?”
Unless “durable” is explicitly stated, the power of attorney will end if you are incapacitated. A durable power of attorney goes into effect right away and grants the agent the power to make decisions if you become incapacitated. You can also create a “springing” durable power of attorney, which will only take effect when a doctor confirms that you are incapacitated.
“Can an Arkansas Power of Attorney End?”
You, as the principal, can revoke a power of attorney at any time. To do this, you should notify the agent, your lawyer, and any other relevant parties. Or, if it is determined that you were not of sound mind when you signed a power of attorney, it might become invalid. A divorce can also end a power of attorney, though it does not automatically end one that is durable.
“Do I Need a Lawyer to Appoint an Agent?”
You can sign power of attorney documents without a lawyer. However, power of attorney, living wills, and other estate planning steps are significant legal events with potentially far-reaching ramifications. If you are concerned about choosing the best agent, or if you have specific questions or concerns, an estate lawyer can help you navigate complex processes and make the best decisions for your future.
There’s no need to leave anything up to chance. Call estate planning lawyer Ben T. Roberds at (479) 464-0904 to schedule a complimentary consultation.