POA Attorney in Red Bank, NJ
Whether due to a tragic accident, a medical condition or simply the aging process, there may come a time in your life when you can no longer make decisions. Margaret M. Mahon, Esq., LLC guides clients through the process of creating durable powers of attorney and healthcare directives. With sensitivity and an attention to detail, we work diligently to create a legally enforceable document that meets your needs and protects your best interests in the event of incapacity. For a consultation with an experienced Monmouth County elder law attorney, contact Margaret M. Mahon, Esq. LLC.
What is a power of attorney?
A power of attorney is a legal document that appoints an agent to act on your behalf. The agent may be a friend, family member or business entity, such as a bank. To be legally enforceable, a power of attorney must be conveyed in writing and be signed in the presence of a notary public. Powers of attorney can take several forms, including:
- General power of attorney: Authorizes the agent to perform the same acts you could perform, such as filing tax returns, executing a contract or borrowing money
- Limited power of attorney: Restricts the agent’s authority to certain actions, such as paying bills or selling property
- Durable power of attorney: Survives your incapacity and allows the agent to make decisions when you cannot
- Springing power of attorney: Becomes effective only after a triggering event, such as your mental or physical disability
Why is a durable power of attorney important?
While many people have wills, they do not always have a plan in place to manage their business, financial and personal affairs in the event of incapacity. A durable power of attorney allows you to choose the person you would like to make decisions for you if you can no longer do so.
Without a durable power of attorney in place, an application will have to be made for the appointment of a guardian and the court may decide who will handle your affairs in the event you can no longer make decisions. Because the proceeding to appoint a guardian can be complicated, costly and time-consuming for loved ones, it is advisable to make the decision ahead of time in consultation with an elder law attorney.
Even when most property is owned jointly, spouses should also consider a durable power of attorney. Spouses do not automatically have power of attorney. In the event of incapacity, the nondisabled spouse may be prohibited from selling the jointly-owned property, altering retirement accounts and taking certain other actions without obtaining court approval.
What are the advantages of an advance healthcare directive?
It is unpleasant to think about no longer being able to make decisions about your own medical care. However, careful planning while you are healthy can alleviate stress and uncertainty down the road. An advance healthcare directive only takes effect after a physician determines that you no longer have the ability to make decisions about your medical care. It also terminates if you regain that capacity. An advance healthcare directive can take several forms:
- Healthcare proxy: A healthcare proxy, also referred to as a healthcare power of attorney or proxy directive, appoints someone to serve as your healthcare representative. In New Jersey, you may only nominate a single person to make decisions, but you may list a backup should that person be unavailable.
- Living will: A living will or instruction directive specifies your instructions regarding your medical care. For example, it may establish that you do not want artificial nutrition and hydration or that you wish to donate your organs.
- Combined directive: This comprehensive healthcare directive appoints a proxy and outlines your medical treatment requests.
An advance healthcare directive has several advantages for you and your loved ones. It ensures that your preferences are honored and prevents disagreements about what you would have wanted between family members during an already difficult time.
Contact an experienced elder law attorney in Red Bank today
Advance directives and powers of attorney protect your best interests and ensure that your preferences are honored when you can no longer speak for yourself. To explore these powerful legal tools, contact Margaret M. Mahon, Esq., LLC today for a free 30-minute consultation. Our office is conveniently located in Red Bank, New Jersey and offers free parking.