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Durable Power of Attorney

Knowledgeable Estate Planning Lawyers Proudly Serving Residents of Traverse City and Grand Rapids Areas

While many people in Michigan understand that they should have an estate plan to make sure that their property is distributed according to their wishes, fewer people realize the importance of planning in the event of a disability. However, the reality is that nearly 15 percent of Michiganders live with a disability, which may be the result of serious illnesses, accidents, or old age.

In Michigan, the probate court may appoint a guardian to act on your behalf if you become disabled; however, you will not be sure of whom the court will appoint. Further, the proceedings are inconvenient, time-consuming, and expensive. And there is always a concern that the person appointed by the court won’t be the person you would have appointed, and their decisions may not be the ones that you would have made. By preparing a durable power of attorney, you can take control of these decisions.

If you are considering creating a durable power of attorney in case of a disability, the Grand Rapids and Traverse City estate planning attorneys at Neumann Law Group are immediately available to advise you and draft an instrument on your behalf. Kelly Neumann is an award-winning trial attorney who understands the contingencies that may arise in connection with a disability.

What Is a Durable Power of Attorney?

Under Section 5501 of the Estates and Protected Individuals Code, a durable power of attorney is an instrument by which a principal designates someone else, known as the attorney-in-fact, to act on their behalf. Your durable power of attorney must be in writing and include language that states that it will not be affected by your disability or incapacity or that it will become effective upon your disability. It needs to indicate that the authority that it grants may be exercised notwithstanding how much time has elapsed since it was executed.

Creating a Durable Power of Attorney

You will need to specify how it should be determined that you are disabled so that your agent can let a third party know that you are disabled. In most cases, durable powers of attorney are broad, including powers to conduct bank transactions, handle assets, pay debts, deal with insurance and retirement benefits, prepare tax returns, make medical decisions, contract for services, collect benefits, and exercise the rights of a settlor of a trust. In some cases, a durable power of attorney is limited to property and financial matters, while someone else is designated as a patient advocate.

The durable power of attorney needs to be valid and signed in the presence of two witnesses, neither of whom is the attorney-in-fact before you are disabled. They will also need to sign the document. You should only name someone as your agent whom you trust to act in your best interest and follow your instructions. Unless you provide otherwise, the attorney-in-fact whom you name must act with the standard of care of a fiduciary, which is the highest standard of care.

The Limitations of a Traditional Power of Attorney

An ordinary power of attorney is insufficient when it comes to a disability because it only gives a person whom you have chosen the power to act for you if you are competent. When you are disabled, an ordinary power of attorney becomes invalid. The durable power of attorney works to give someone of your choice the right to act on your behalf if you become disabled or incapacitated.

Speak with a Durable Power of Attorney Lawyer at the Neumann Law Group to Learn More

It is a significant responsibility to take over someone else’s financial and other concerns. If you are concerned about preparing a durable power of attorney, our Traverse City and Grand Rapids lawyers can help. Our firm also represents people in Ann Arbor, Flint, Lansing, Kalamazoo, Detroit, Wyoming, Saginaw, Muskegon, Midland, Holland, Warren, and Petoskey, as well as communities throughout the Upper Peninsula. Contact Neumann Law Group at 800-525-6386 or through our online form to set up a free consultation. We also handle other estate planning matters, such as creating asset protection plans and trust administration services.

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