It can be overwhelming or even unnerving for some of us to consider what will happen to our family after we are gone. But it can be almost as difficult for them if you become incapacitated. This is where a power of attorney comes into the picture. A power of attorney can provide peace of mind for you and your family while handling an already difficult time in your life. By designating a power of attorney, you can rest assured knowing that things are taken care of and there are fewer questions to navigate while your family supports you while you have become incapacitated.
What if you don’t want one person to be in charge of every detail when that time comes? You have an option in Colorado to create a Limited Power of Attorney and specify which areas you would like each person to handle for you.
What is a Limited Power of Attorney?
There are several types of Power of Attorney (POA) paperwork that you can put in place for your family. Most estate plans will include a couple of different POA designations. The two main ones are financial and healthcare POAs. In most cases, you can designate which specific items you want to be handled by this person from a list of items or powers you have chosen. The person you designate as your POA can handle only the items that are listed in the POA, and they are not legally able to intervene in areas not stipulated in the documentation.
The financial POA can handle things like signing checks over for deposit, filing your taxes, maintaining investment or retirement accounts, and managing your business or real estate affairs.
A healthcare POA can handle things like making medical decisions on your behalf when you cannot. You can stipulate what strategies are used to assist you including end of life decisions, how they oversee medical decisions for you, and more, according to your wishes.
Who Can Be Designated as a POA?
When determining who your agent (the person designated as your POA) will be, you can choose nearly anyone. The person must be an adult and not be incapacitated for any reason. It is of great benefit to have a successor agent listed as well that can step in should your first POA not be able to help because they are unavailable or no longer eligible to carry out the duties of a POA.
Choosing someone you trust fully is vital, as they will likely handle several personal aspects of your life. In some cases, individuals decide to have more than one POA to act on their behalf simultaneously, such as siblings or children. However, this can create issues as life changes, and those two may no longer see eye to eye. It can be a more simplified approach to designate one agent with a successor.
It can also be beneficial to list a POA close to where you live. This can make it easier for them to complete the tasks you have asked of them when the time comes. A relative that lives out of state, for example, although not out of the question, would have a more challenging time accommodating your wishes than one that lives close to you and your family.
What Should I Do with my POA Document Once Completed?
Having several copies of the POA on hand and in a safe place can be beneficial. Giving them to a few different essential people can also help to lessen any confusion or questions when they are necessary. Namely, the agent listed should have a copy so they can stay familiar with the items that pertain to them and what they may need to do.
Other important places to send a copy of your POA may be the banks where you have accounts so that they can keep it on file and be prepared when needed. If real estate is involved, it can be beneficial for the Clerk and Recorder’s office to have a copy of your POA.
Do I Have to Have it Notarized?
It is not legally required in the state of Colorado to have your Power of Attorney notarized, meaning it will not be invalid if it doesn’t have a notary. However, in most cases it will be better to have it notarized. Notarization helps by creating a presumption that the signature is valid, meaning that it makes the documentation more bulletproof.
Though Colorado law doesn’t state specifically that notary is required, most financial institutions or even medical practices may require under their own rules that it to be notarized, so it is important to take the extra step of notarizing.
Why Work with an Attorney?
Estate planning encompasses so many aspects of our lives and our deaths. There are several things to think about that, without experience, you may not yet have thought of. Working with an experienced estate planning attorney means addressing multiple issues and helping you be as prepared for your future as possible. They can offer invaluable insight and guidance on what can feel like an overwhelming task to some. It’s not always easy to think of our mortality or incapacity, but it can offer us peace of mind knowing that we have taken extra steps to ensure our family has fewer questions when that time comes.
Contact our office today at (720) 420-1039 to speak with one of our knowledgeable attorneys. We have many years of experience helping our clients with all things estate planning and are prepared to help you, too. Don’t leave things to chance or leave questions for your family. We can provide guidance that allows you to set a realistic plan in which you and your family can find comfort when you need it.