Your Durable Power of Attorney
For most people, the durable power of attorney is the most important estate planning instrument available--even more useful than a will. A power of attorney allows a person you appoint -- your "attorney-in-fact" or "agent" -- to act in your place for financial purposes when and if you ever become incapacitated.
In that case, the person you choose will be able to step in and take care of your financial affairs. Without a durable power of attorney, no one can represent you unless a court appoints a conservator or guardian. That court process takes time, costs money, and the judge may not choose the person you would prefer. In addition, under a guardianship or conservatorship, your representative may have to seek court permission to take planning steps that she could implement immediately under a simple durable power of attorney.
A power of attorney may be limited or general. A limited power of attorney may give someone the right to sign a deed to property on a day when you are out of town. Or it may allow someone to sign checks for you. A general power is comprehensive and gives your attorney-in-fact all the powers and rights that you have yourself.
A power of attorney may also be either current or "springing." Most powers of attorney take effect immediately upon their execution, even if the understanding is that they will not be used until and unless the grantor becomes incapacitated. However, the document can also be written so that it does not become effective until such incapacity occurs. In such cases, it is very important that the standard for determining incapacity and triggering the power of attorney be clearly laid out in the document itself.
However, attorneys report that their clients are experiencing increasing difficulty in getting banks or other financial institutions to recognize the authority of an agent under a durable power of attorney. A certain amount of caution on the part of financial institutions is understandable: When someone steps forward claiming to represent the account holder, the financial institution wants to verify that the attorney-in-fact indeed has the authority to act for the principal. Still, some institutions go overboard, for example requiring that the attorney-in-fact indemnify them against any loss. Many banks or other financial institutions have their own standard power of attorney forms. To avoid problems, you may want to execute such forms offered by the institutions with which you have accounts. In addition, many attorneys counsel their clients to create living trusts in part to avoid this sort of problem with powers of attorney.
While you should seriously consider executing a durable power of attorney, if you do not have someone you trust to appoint it may be more appropriate to have the probate court looking over the shoulder of the person who is handling your affairs through a guardianship or conservatorship. In that case, you may execute a limited durable power of attorney simply nominating the person you want to serve as your conservator or guardian. Most states require the court to respect your nomination "except for good cause or disqualification."
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Monday, February 8, 2010
Every citizen should be familiar with the Law of the Land. There is no excuse for not knowing the law. It can help a person to defend him or herself at a time of legal crisis. Even when you have not acted against the law, you might need to know the law in order to protect yourself from people who might violate the law. To know ones rights and privileges is not only beneficial, it is absolutely essential. You will never know when the information you have at your disposal might come in handy. Having it ready before any crisis strikes will help you take immensely wiser and more informed decisions which you will not regret later. Just as there are varied disciplines in the field of medicine, there is a wide range of divisions when it comes to law. For instance, everyone knows that you don't visit a general physician for a severe heart ailment. You want to consult a heart specialist in this case. Likewise, for every particular type of law, there are specific attorneys who specialize in that particular field. It really helps to search and identify the suitable attorney for your particular case, instead of heading to the nearest or most familiar attorney for every case.
Here are some of the different types of law that Toronto law firms can assist you in:
• Accidents and Injuries: Involved in an accident where you suffered personal injury?
•Business: Need corporate or commercial agreements? Need to have a lawyer help you do a transaction?
•Charities and Not-For-Profit: Need to establish a Not-For-Profit corporation or obtain charity status?
•Civil Litigation – Higher Court: Have a serious legal claim that needs to be litigated in the Superior Court, Divisional Court, etc.?
•Civil Litigation – Small Claims Court: Have a legal claim (e.g. breach of contract, negligence, etc.)
•Constitutional / Human Rights and Freedoms: Challenging a law or government action / inaction?
Criminal: Charged with a criminal offence? Appealing a conviction?
•Employment and Labour: Need an employment agreement? Unjustly terminated? Need to know your rights?
•Family: Going through a separation or divorce? Fighting to get custody or access? Dealing with spousal and child support?
• Government: Need to lobby the government? Need to resolve a dispute with a government agency?
•Highway Traffic Tickets: Charged with speeding or DUI? Need to fight traffic tickets?
•Immigration: Need to immigrate to Canada? Fighting against deportation?
•Insurance: Having difficulties with your Insurance company?.
•Intellectual Property: Need to register a copyright or trademark? Need help with a patent?
•Landlord and Tenant: Need a resolve a dispute? Need to know your rights?.
•Notary Public / Commissioner: Need to notarize or commission your documents?
•Real Estate: Need someone to facilitate your residential or commercial purchase, sale, or lease?
•Tax: Need help structuring your tax affairs? Need help resolving tax disputes with the Canada Revenue Agency?
•Wills, Estates and Trusts: Need a will? Need to update your will? Find out why having an up-to-date will is a must.
Try to consult Canadian Law firm and Toronto attorneys and bring an end to all your worries.