estate planning and elder law firm

What Is a Power of Attorney?

New Jersey Estate Planning Lawyer

Book an Initial Call
A power of attorney is a legal document with which a principal authorizes an agent to act on the principal’s behalf and for the principal’s benefit.
May 15, 2022 ★  | |

What Is a Power of Attorney? Nj.com’s recent article entitled “What does becoming someone’s ‘power of attorney’ mean?” explains that a power of attorney (POA) is a legal document through which a principal states that his or her trusted  agent may act on his or her behalf and for their benefit.

A POA is usually centered on addressing the principal’s financial matters, such as banking, paying taxes and selling or buying property.

A power of attorney can be “springing,” so that it becomes effective only when the principal becomes incapacitated. A springing POA provides that an agent can’t act, until the principal is determined to be incapacitated based on the criteria listed in the POA.

The “springing POA” frequently says the determination of incapacity will be made by the principal’s spouse and a licensed physician, or two licensed physicians.

There is also what is known as a medical power of attorney or living will. This is a legal document through which a principal authorizes an agent to make medical decisions for him or her, when they’re incapable of making the decisions for themselves.

In either event, the agent doesn’t become personally responsible for the financial expenses incurred by the principal, unless the agent agrees to take such responsibility in his/her individual capacity.

It is, therefore, important to execute documents as an agent and indicate you’re doing so as an agent.

For example, you, Jim Smith, would sign for principal Mary Smith as follows: “Mary Smith, by Jim Smith, attorney-in-fact,” or “Jim Smith, as agent for Mary Smith, under power of attorney.”

When signing a contract with respect to nursing home care, be wary of agreeing to individually be the “responsible party.” That term may be defined to assign additional obligations, meaning being responsible for the bill. 

Remember to sign everything as agent under the power of attorney.

To discuss why you must have a Power of Attorney, book a call with the Law Firm of Benjamin D. Eckman with offices in the Wayne, Union and Hackensack.

Reference: nj.com (April 12, 2022) “What does becoming someone’s ‘power of attorney’ mean?”

Law Firm of Benjamin Eckman
Planning Today for Your Family's Tomorrow

1767 Morris Ave., Suite 314
Union, NJ 07083

By Appointment Only:

73 Mt. View Blvd., Wayne, NJ 07470
(973)709-0909

1 University Drive, Suite 609
Hackensack, NJ 07601

Contact Us
Union Office

1767 Morris Ave., Suite 314
Union, NJ 07083

Get Directions
Wayne Office

By Appointment Only:

73 Mt. View Blvd., Wayne, NJ 07470
(973)709-0909

Get Directions
Hackensack Office

1 University Drive, Suite 609
Hackensack, NJ 07601

Get Directions
Integrity Marketing Solutions - Estate Planning Marketing
Powered by
chevron-down