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Home > Blog > Estate Planning > You Don’t Have to Be Elderly or Infirm to Benefit From a Power of Attorney

You Don’t Have to Be Elderly or Infirm to Benefit From a Power of Attorney


When an elderly person is suffering from ill health, there are usually a lot of whispers among the person’s relatives about power of attorney (POA) documents.  If the person is too ill to make financial decisions or transactions and does not already have a POA signed, then it is too late, and family drama is inevitable.  Signing a POA, or at least understanding how they work and deciding to sign one at a later date, should be one of the early steps in crafting your estate plan.  A hasty POA is better than no POA at all, but it is still a recipe for trouble. The best POA is one that you sign when you are in good health and perhaps because your health and your financial situation are good.  To ensure that your POA accomplishes the purposes that you want it to accomplish, contact a Bronx estate planning lawyer.

New York Power of Attorney Requirements

A power of attorney is a document that enables another person to make a specific decision or transaction on your behalf or gives the person wider discretion about managing your finances.  The person who is granting decision-making authority in the POA relationship is called the principal, and the person receiving the authority to make decisions on behalf of the principal is called the agent.  In order for a POA to be legally valid in New York, it must meet the following requirements:

  • The principal and the agent must both be at least 18 years old.
  • The court must not have declared either the principal or the agent legally incompetent to enter into binding legal agreements.
  • You must sign the POA in the presence of two witnesses and a notary, who must notarize the document.
  • The agent must sign the POA and have his or her signature notarized. The principal and the agent do not necessarily have to sign the document at the same time.

Which Power of Attorney Do You Need?

New York law recognizes various types of POA documents that serve different purposes.  A limited power of attorney lists a specific duration of validity and a limited set of decisions or transactions that the agent may make.  An example of when you would use this POA is if you will be traveling out of the country for several months and you want the agent to collect the rent from your tenants while you are away and make repairs to your rental properties, as necessary.  A durable power of attorney is of indefinite duration.  A springing power of attorney does not go into effect immediately, but only when the principal becomes too ill to make financial decisions on his or her own behalf.

Schedule a Confidential Consultation With a Bronx Estate Planning Attorney

An estate planning lawyer can help you draft a power of attorney that will go into effect now or later.  Contact Cavallo & Cavallo in the Bronx, New York to set up a consultation.



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