The Importance of a Power of Attorney

Why is a Power of Attorney necessary? Many seniors struggle with handling their finances and may be at risk of false advertising, scams, and identity theft. To help guard against these dangers, individuals can establish a Power of Attorney where they (the Principal) identify another person (the Agent) to act on the principal’s behalf and help to manage their finances. The Agent is usually a spouse, a relative, or a trusted friend.

What exactly does a Power of Attorney do? A Power of Attorney grants legal authority to the Agent to perform various tasks on the Principal’s behalf. North Carolina has adopted a “durability” statute that allows this power to continue even after the mental incapacity of the Principal. The result is a “Durable Power of Attorney”–a document that continues to be valid until a stated termination date or death of the Principal.

What are the benefits of a Power of Attorney?

  1. You choose someone you trust to help manage your finances.
  2. Avoids the necessity for the court to appoint a guardian if you become incapacitated –  a process that is costly and often stressful.
  3. Provides family and friends with direction about your wishes and expectations.

Nobody can predict exactly what challenges we will face as we age. A good goal is to have a Durable Power of Attorney in place that names trustworthy agents to be at your side when you need them the most.