You probably know the importance of executing a will, but there are other documents that you need to consider as part of estate planning in Virginia. Designating a power of attorney over your financial matters is an essential part of planning for your future. Here are the answers to some common questions about using a power of attorney within your comprehensive estate plan.
How does a financial power of attorney work?
A power of attorney is a legal arrangement where you, as principal, designate another person as an agent to handle your finances. You retain the right to manage your own affairs, but your agent also has the power to act on your behalf. It’s important to appoint an agent that you trust when executing a power of attorney, so you might consider a spouse, family member or close friend.
What powers can I grant to my agent?
In general, you can assign your agent any financial powers that you have over your own assets. Your power of attorney can state that your agent has power over “all of my property,” or you can limit it to certain transactions or assets. You can also place limits on when your agent’s powers are triggers. For instance, you may not want your power of attorney to take effect unless or until you are determined to be unable to handle your own affairs.
How do I execute a power of attorney?
You must be at least 18 years old and have the capacity to understand your intentions when signing a power of attorney. The document itself must comply with Virginia law, which requires your signature. While you do not need to have witnesses or a notary available, it is highly recommended that you have both to ensure that your intentions are not subject to challenges.
Can I cancel my power of attorney?
You can revoke your power of attorney at any time, so long as you have the mental capacity to do so. Virginia law allows you to revoke your power of attorney entirely, make changes to the powers of your agent, or designate a new agent at any time.
What if I need help?
Proper drafting and executing a power of attorney are critical to fulfilling your intentions in the event that you become incapacitated. The attorneys at Shannon & Associates, P.C. have the experience to assist you with completing a power of attorney. Please contact or call us at (757) 228-5529 for more information on Virginia estate planning.