The COVID-19 Pandemic is a wake-up call for everyone to implement an estate plan, if you do not already have one, or to review your existing estate plan. As a result of the global health crisis, it is critical for you to be prepared in order to protect yourself and your family. A Durable Power of Attorney is one of the documents that is essential for your comprehensive estate plan.

A Comprehensive Durable Power of Attorney

A Comprehensive Durable Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows you to appoint someone who you trust and grant the legal authority to that person to act on your behalf regarding your financial and property decisions. This person is known as your “Agent” or “Attorney-in-Fact”. For example, in the event that you are incapacitated, hospitalized, or quarantined, your  Agent/Attorney-in Fact is empowered to act to handle your financial and property affairs in accordance with your instructions, and if not possible, in your best interests.

Key Components of a Comprehensive Durable Power of Attorney

In order to ensure that you have the right and proper Power of Attorney, you should seek the advice and counsel of an experienced attorney. The following are the key components of a Comprehensive Durable Power of Attorney:

  • New York Statutory Form: Durable General Power of Attorney– to ensure it will be recognized as valid and followed by banks and financial institutions;
  • Durable– to ensure that it will continue to be effective upon your mental incapacity;
  • Successor Agents– to ensure you will have a person to act on your behalf in the event that you first Agent is unable or unavailable to act;
  • Expanded Power Provisions– to ensure that your Agent has the legal authority to make comprehensive financial decisions, including Medicaid Planning and Estate Tax Planning, which are not included in the New York Statutory Form; and
  • Special Provisions- to ensure your Intent to Return Home if you are in a hospital or nursing home (such a provision allows your home to be disregarded as a resource for purposes of Medicaid eligibility for nursing home care), to express your wishes as to whom should be appointed your legal guardian in the event of a guardianship proceeding, and to ensure the power over real property that you own in another state.

Consult With and Retain Experienced Attorneys

A Comprehensive Durable Power of Attorney is one of the most important legal documents in your estate plan because it allows you to protect yourself and your assets. Without one, a timely and costly court proceeding would be required to appoint a Guardian for you. If you do not have a Comprehensive Durable Power of Attorney, please contact us. At Russo Law Group, P.C., we understand that observing social distancing can make it more difficult to execute legal documents due to witness and notarization requirements. We can assist you with remote witnessing and remote notarization, in compliance with Governor Cuomo’s Executive Orders.

It is important when implementing estate planning to consult with and retain experienced attorneys. Russo Law Group, P.C., has knowledgeable attorneys who can provide professional services and advise you. We invite you to take advantage of our comprehensive website as well as our free seminars and webinars to learn more about how Russo Law Group, P.C. may assist you. We have also linked for your reference, the following article from The New York Times, Your Money: The One Document Americans Need Now- Power of Attorney, by Reuters.

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