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New York City Durable Power of Attorney

Effective estate planning goes beyond the creation of wills and trusts—it also encompasses crucial tools like the durable power of attorney (DPOA). Unforeseen circumstances such as accidents, medical conditions, or the effects of aging can suddenly impair a person’s ability to manage their affairs. A durable power of attorney empowers a designated individual to act on your behalf even if you become incapacitated. This document ensures that your agent can manage your financial affairs in times of need.

At Holm and O’Hara LLP, our dedicated team of estate planning lawyers brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in New York State estate law to guide you through the nuances of creating a DPOA. We offer personalized legal expertise and compassionate service to ensure that your durable power of attorney aligns with your wishes and overall estate plan.

What Is a Durable Power of Attorney?

A durable power of attorney is a legal document in which a person, known as the “principal,” grants an individual, known as the “agent” or “attorney-in-fact,” the authority to manage specific aspects of their life. The principal dictates the extent of powers granted to the agent, and this may include handling business or real estate transactions, managing properties, and making decisions regarding their assets. Agents are often family members, trusted friends, or professionals.

What sets a durable power of attorney apart from a non-durable power of attorney is that it remains effective in the event you become incapacitated. A durable power of attorney in New York is a subcategory of powers of attorney (POA), and all powers of attorney are durable unless they explicitly state otherwise.

Why Do You Need a Durable Power of Attorney?

There are several reasons why a DPOA is beneficial, including:

  • Continuity of Financial Management: In events where you’re unable to manage your affairs, a DPOA ensures that someone you trust can step in seamlessly.
  • Flexibility and Control: You can define the scope of power given to your attorney-in-fact, tailoring it to your specific needs and preferences.
  • Avoiding Court-Appointed Guardianship: Without a DPOA, a court may appoint a guardian to manage your affairs if you become incapacitated, which might not align with your preferences.

Requirements and Limitations of a Durable Power of Attorney

For the DPOA to be valid in New York, both the principal and the agent must be at least 18 years old and have the mental capacity to understand the DPOA’s implications. The durable power of attorney form must be signed in front of two witnesses and a notary (the notary can also be one of the witnesses).

The role of an agent involves diligently performing tasks on behalf of the principal within legal bounds and fulfilling their fiduciary duty to act in the principal’s best interests. So long as the principal retains their decision-making capacity, they authorize the agent to make decisions on their behalf. It’s important to note that the power of attorney ceases to be effective upon the principal’s death.

How Our Estate Planning Attorneys Can Help You with Durable Power of Attorney

Our team of seasoned estate planning attorneys can assist you in several ways:

  • Drafting of DPOA: We ensure that your durable power of attorney reflects your specific desires and circumstances, providing a tailored approach to your estate planning.
  • Legal Expertise and Advice: Our attorneys bring in-depth knowledge of New York State laws and can guide you through each step in creating a DPOA.
  • Regular Updates and Reviews: Life changes—and so should your estate plan. We can help you review and update your DPOA as needed, altering it to align with your current situation.
  • Comprehensive Estate Planning: A durable power of attorney is often one part of a larger estate plan. We work with you to integrate your DPOA with other estate planning tools like wills, trusts, and health care directives.

Speak with an Experienced New York City Estate Planning Attorney

At Holm & O’Hara LLP, we understand the importance of planning for the future. Our experienced NYC estate planning attorneys are here to guide you in creating a durable power of attorney that fits your needs and gives you peace of mind.

Whether you are looking to establish a new durable power of attorney or update an existing one, we are committed to providing personalized, comprehensive estate planning services to ensure that your wishes are honored and respected. Contact us for a free consultation.

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