Many people are familiar with the phrase “power of attorney.” New York law permits you to authorize another to do with few limitations any financial acts that you might do directly. This is the law of agency and has been part of the Anglo-American legal system for hundreds of years. A power of attorney is an essential document in planning for the possibility of physical or mental incapacity.
A general “durable” power of attorney permits the authorizing person (called the “principal”) to give the appointed person (called the “attorney-in-fact”) the power to act even after the principal becomes incapacitated. In other words, it permits the attorney-in-fact to write checks, make business decisions, and take other steps on behalf of the principal indefinitely until the principal’s death.
Careful selection of the attorney-in-fact is of utmost importance. It is an important responsibility with which to trust another person, as that person will have enormous control over your life and assets. Without such an advance direction, however, there is the possibility that a Court will need to appoint an agent after an expensive legal proceeding.
Attorney Henry D. Gartner, with whom we maintain a close relationship, is available to prepare a power of attorney for you, and to counsel you regarding the important consideration in selecting the appropriate attorney-in-fact and what powers to afford that person.