In addition, if you ever become incapacitated, without this document, even if you have a spouse, the court may need to step in and appoint a guardian or conservator for you. The process of appointing a guardian is costly and requires the guardian to formally report your situation to the court each year. CNN Money estimates that the process of obtaining a court appointed guardian exceeds $1,000. If this is the situation you find yourself in now, please read our guide about getting guardianship over your elderly parent here.
The most important part of this document is the choice of agent. This person will be in charge of many financial assets once the principal sign sthe document. Generally, people select close family members, such as spouses or children, or long-time friends. However, any person whom a principal trusts to make the best decisions on their behalf can be chosen. Be aware that if the principal chooses a spouse and then later ends the marriage, the spouse s power will automatically terminate.
Powers of Attorney in the United States are subject to the laws of individual states, so the document changes to conform to your particular state s laws. There is no overall federal law concerning Powers of Attorney, but there is a model Uniform Power of Attorney Act which many states have adopted, fully or partially.
A Durable Power of Attorney also becomes effective immediately upon signing, however it allows the Agent to continue acting on behalf of the Principal even when he or she becomes incapacitated. This type ends automatically when you die, but you can also rescind it, as long you are not incapacitated.
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