Why is a Durable Power of Attorney so Important Under New Jersey Law?

Arguably a Durable Power of Attorney (POA) is as important as a Will.

Is your existing POA more than five years old and in need of updating to access Medicare and Medicaid benefits?

Do you know what this document is, and how it benefits your life?

Should you become disabled or ill and unable to pay your bills, handle your financial affairs, and continue doing business, this crucial legal document will immediately allow a trusted family member, friend or advisor to assume the fiduciary duties of handling your financial affairs until you have recovered your health.

The word Durable  is pretty important, as it allows your trusted fiduciary (your Agent) to swiftly step in and assist in the day-to-day financial chores of you and your family, such as bill paying, banking, and any other obligations you name in the POA.

Without a Power of Attorney in place, a Court proceeding is required so that a Judge can determine your need for a Conservatorship to administer your assets, and the Judge will then appoint an agent to handle your financial affairs.

A second possibility is a Springing Power of Attorney, effective only upon the affirmation of two medical opinions that you are unable to handle your own financial affairs. This is less often chosen, as it can substantially delay your Agent’s access to funds to pay your bills and operate your household or business.

Your POA is revocable at any time by you if you are able, should you need for any reason to change your Agent, and it automatically terminates upon death, as your Executor assumes these tasks in Probate.

Most clients agree that a Power of Attorney provides the comfort of knowing that you will be well cared for should you need medical attention.

Recent changes required to comply with Medicare and Medicaid may make your POA ineffective in accessing these critical government benefits. Call my office at 973-285-3322 or 973-543-1491 for an appointment to update.

This blog is not legal advice, which would require a thorough understanding of your individual and family needs.