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Power of Attorney

Whether your estate plan involves a will or a trust, having a Virginia durable power of attorney is a key to proper planning for your future. A power of attorney is a legal document that appoints someone you trust to make financial and/or health care decisions for you in case a time comes when you cannot make these decisions on your own.

When you need help with power of attorney, working with a Fairfax power of attorney lawyer can be immensely useful. At S&R Law Firm, our estate planning attorneys have the knowledge and experience to guide you through the process of creating an individualized power of attorney that is right for you.

The Benefits of Virginia Durable Power of Attorney

Most estate plans include a durable power of attorney because it can make difficult life decisions significantly easier for you and your loved ones. For one, a power of attorney allows you to provide clear instructions on how you want financial and health care decisions to be made in case you cannot make them yourself. Second, it allows you to give someone you trust the legal authority to make these decisions for you if you are unable. Knowing that these decisions will be made according to your wishes can give you significant peace of mind.

For obvious reasons, you should only appoint someone you trust and who is capable of making well thought-out decisions as your agent. It is important to keep in mind that while you may trust a family member to do so, they may be too emotionally overwhelmed by the situation to make tough decisions. For example, if you suffer a serious car accident and are incapacitated, or if your death is imminent, it could be quite stressful for a family member to take on the responsibility of handling your affairs. A qualified power of attorney lawyer serving Fairfax can help you determine how best to choose your agent. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact S&R Law Firm for a review of your case.

Types of Durable Power of Attorney

There are two categories of durable power of attorney: financial and health care. A financial power of attorney authorizes your agent to make decisions about your financial affairs. In most cases, a Virginia durable power of attorney allows a broad range of authority to this person, including the ability to file taxes, sell real estate or property, buy or sell stock, transfer assets, or make gifts on your behalf. If you would prefer that your power of attorney does not grant your agent authority over all of your financial decisions, a Fairfax power of attorney lawyer can draw up a power of attorney that limits authority to only certain aspects of your finances.

A Virginia health care power of attorney (sometimes referred to as a Virginia medical directive or advance directive) gives an individual you appoint as your agent the authority to make medical decisions for you if you become sick, incapacitated, or unable to communicate your wishes to your doctor. A health care agent will make decisions on medical care you will receive, which doctors you will use, where you will live (such as a nursing home or assisted living facility), what you will eat, and other health-related decisions. The power of attorney is also typically accompanied by a living will: a document that describes how you would prefer that decisions are in case your illness is terminal. (You can read more about this on our medical directives page.)

It is up to you whether you choose the same individual or different individuals as your fiduciary and healthcare power of attorney. (Whomever you choose, it is important that you clearly communicate well in advance how you want your financial and medical decisions to be handled.) In some cases, if you appoint different agents for financial and health care, they will need to work together to make decisions, since some health care decisions will depend on your financial means.

Each and every power of attorney is different and is dependent on your circumstances, so working with a wills and estates attorney is advisable. If you are in need of assistance with a durable power of attorney, a power of attorney lawyer in Fairfax will have the knowledge and experience to help you create a power of attorney that is right for your needs.

To learn more about how we can help or to get answers to your questions, contact S&R Law Firm at 703-273-6431.

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