In the event you are ever in an accident which causes you to become incapacitated, or unable to care for yourself — who would keep the lights on for you? Who would make sure your mortgage is paid on time? Or make your car payment? Who would manage your financial affairs? How will your bills continue to be paid? Who can talk to your banks or even your accountants? How can that person get the authority to do so?
Without a Power of Attorney, he or she may have to request a conservatorship be opened in Probate Court in order to formally be appointed to serve on your behalf. This process takes time and money. There could also be contentious legal battles if more than one person attempted to become your agent. A judge would decide who should become your agent and the court supervision over your financial affairs would follow. Summit Legacy Planning will help you avoid this unnecessary hassle by helping you establish a well-drafted Power of Attorney.
A Power of Attorney is an important component of every estate plan in Utah. In fact, even someone as young as 18 should have a Power of Attorney — even young adults can become incapacitated and unable to manage their financial affairs. For that reason, we recommend our clients who are parents to young adults or have children away at college also set up Powers of Attorney.
We welcome you to read further to learn more. Contact us online, or by calling our Park City office, for more information on how we can help you establish Powers of Attorney.
A Power of Attorney is a legal document in which you give another person (called an “agent”) the authority to act on your behalf in managing your financial affairs. You can give this person that ability even if you are not incapacitated (sometimes called an “immediate” power of attorney). Or you can condition this person’s ability to serve on your behalf only when you are incapacitated (sometimes called a “springing” power of attorney).
We, at Summit Legacy Planning, will help you decide who your agents should be and whether they should be able to serve immediately or only upon your incapacity.
Your Power of Attorney can be as broad as you want or limited only to specific powers, such as only handling the sale of your real estate, for instance. Your agent will only be able to perform the tasks listed in this document on your behalf. Typically, a broad Power of Attorney includes handling your bank accounts, paying everyday expenses, purchasing or selling real estate, managing your business affairs, applying for or collecting public government benefits, filing taxes and so on. But your agent cannot use your assets in a way that is against your wishes or for the agent’s benefit — the agent’s fiduciary obligations and liabilities are also spelled out clearly in the Utah Uniform Power of Attorney Act.
The purpose of a Power of Attorney is to help someone else manage your financial affairs without the need of court involvement, so long as it is properly drafted and addresses your needs. And having a Power of Attorney in place will help protect you from financial abuse or exploitation during a time that you are unable to make your own decisions.
We encourage you to contact us for additional information about Powers of Attorney or about any of our other services.