How & Why You Should Combine A Power Of Attorney With Your Will

An estate plan is a collection of documents that your attorney selects. They choose each one based on how it protects you, your assets and preserves your estate. Your lawyer will not only look at the circumstances surrounding your life but will ask you what you want to get out of your estate plan. For instance, a young couple may come in because they want to choose a legal guardian for their children if they pass away unexpectedly, which can be accomplished through a last will and testament (commonly referred to as a “will”). 

Wills allow you to choose who receives your assets when you pass away. If you opt to write a will rather than create a trust, your assets are going to pass through the probate process. Even if you do begin a trust, only the assets inside of it are going to avoid probate. Lastly, you will also need to appoint an executor to oversee the distribution of your assets, and this person will work closely with the probate courts until everything has been dispersed. 

Powers of Attorney 

An estate planning attorney will likely suggest that you include a power of attorney in your overall estate plan. Though we will elaborate further in a moment, you authorize someone else to make financial decisions on your behalf when you make a power of attorney. This person will have access to your accounts and money and could even purchase a house in your name. 

Why would you want this? If you become incapacitated, you have someone you can act on your behalf regarding financial matters. In New York, if you have a durable power of attorney, it takes effect immediately and doesn’t cease when you are incapacitated. On the other hand, a springing power of attorney takes effect at a future time or after an event such as incapacitation. 

The Importance of Having Both 

Imagine that your parent has severe health issues. They create and sign a valid durable power of attorney. Because of it, you have access to their accounts. You can pay the medical bills using their money, continue making the mortgage payments, etc. This could potentially give you a false sense of security. You have everything you need to take care of any financial decisions that need to be made. However, the durable power of attorney will end if your parent passes away. By making a will in addition to the power of attorney, they can make you the executor. 

Although probate can be a lengthy process, having a will allows you to continue making decisions regarding your estate even after you pass away. It prevents your assets from being distributed according to intestate laws. 

Discover Your Estate Planning Options

As a neighborhood practice, we can assist you and your family by creating wills, trusts, and other estate planning documents. Additionally, attorneys at Drucker & Mattia, PLLC, have extensive experience helping clients prepare powers of attorney, living wills, and choosing a health care proxy. Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation to learn more about how we can support you.

The following two tabs change content below.

Drucker & Mattia PLLC

When you’re facing legal issues or pursuing a lawsuit, skilled legal counsel makes a big difference. At Drucker & Mattia, PLLC, we specialize in a wide range of legal areas to meet the needs of a diverse client base.

Latest posts by Drucker & Mattia PLLC (see all)