Authorizing Control Over Your Assets With a Financial Power of Attorney

Navigate the complexities of the financial power of attorney with the Law Offices of Wenarsky and Goldstein, LLC. Learn how this legal tool can secure your financial future.

What Is a Financial Power of Attorney?

A financial power of attorney (FPOA) is an essential legal document that grants a trusted individual, known as an agent or attorney-in-fact, the authority to manage financial matters and make financial decisions on behalf of another person, known as the principal. It is a crucial estate planning document that can help ensure that your finances do not suffer if you cannot handle them yourself due to incapacity or other circumstances.

With a financial power of attorney, you determine the scope of your agent’s authority, and they can only act according to the terms stated in the power of attorney document. Therefore, you must be careful during the creation process and ensure that the terms of your document align with your goals.

At the Law Offices of Wenarsky and Goldstein, LLC, we understand the significance and consequences of trusting someone else with your finances. With our extensive estate planning experience, we can help you craft a robust financial power of attorney that protects your interests and gives you peace of mind.

We recognize that an effective power of attorney should be tailored to the principal’s unique needs and circumstances. However, we’ve prepared this general guide to help you understand the basics.

Please read on to learn more.

Types of Financial Powers of Attorney

If you need help managing your finances due to your health or lack of financial knowledge, executing a financial power of attorney may be necessary to ensure your financial security.

Generally, powers of attorney come in two forms: durable and springing. Their legal implications vary. Therefore, it’s crucial to understand their differences before executing your FPOA to ensure your choice properly safeguards your interests.

Durable Power of Attorney

Durable powers of attorney are created to be effective immediately after they are made.

By law, such powers of attorney remain active and valid even if the principal subsequently becomes incapacitated and unable to manage their affairs. That’s why it is called a durable power of attorney – its validity is not shaken by such unforeseen circumstances.

A durable power of attorney must contain the words “This power of attorney shall not be affected by subsequent disability or incapacity of the principal, or lapse of time” or similar words that demonstrate the principal’s intention to have the agent exercise their authority regardless of the principal’s state of health.

Springing Power of Attorney

Conversely, a springing power of attorney does not take effect immediately after it is created but is activated only when specific conditions are met.

Selecting the appropriate power of attorney on your own could be difficult since they both offer different benefits. Legal guidance is crucial at this point to help you understand the legal implications of each type before you decide.

Creating a Financial Power of Attorney

The process for creating a financial power of attorney encompasses the following steps and considerations:

Choosing an Agent

Choosing an agent for your FPOA requires careful consideration. The person you choose should be competent, trustworthy, skilled in financial management, and able to act in your best interests.

Your agent will have the authority to perform a variety of financial transactions on your behalf, ranging from paying bills and managing investments to handling real estate affairs, depending on your specifications.

You can also authorize your agent to conduct banking transactions on your behalf. This would give them the authority to

  • Open or close bank accounts with financial institutions
  • Sign, deliver, and withdraw checks
  • Access safety deposit boxes or bank vaults
  • Apply for letters of credit and banker checks
  • Resolve any dispute or claim connected to a banking benefit you may be entitled to.

You control the scope of your agent’s authority, so as you decide on your choice of agent, it is also important to consider how much authority you need to grant to suit your purposes.

Meeting the Legal Requirements

Powers of attorneys in New Jersey must meet the following legal requirements to be valid.

  • They must be in writing
  • They must be signed by the principal
  • They must be acknowledged by the principal before a notary public or any other official specified by law.

Failing to comply with these requirements would render your springing or durable financial power of attorney ineffective. Therefore, it is crucial to seek legal help from an attorney who can ensure that the requirements are met.

Activation and Termination 

If you’d like your power of attorney to take effect only if certain conditions are met, you must state them clearly in your FPOA document.

Similarly, if you intend for your FPOA to terminate upon certain circumstances or conditions being met, you must state what they are in the document. Once those conditions occur, your authorization to the agent ends, and they’ll no longer have the power to act for you.

Revoking a Financial Power of Attorney

You can revoke your FPOA at any time if it no longer serves your purposes or if your agent has acted outside the scope of their authority. This can be done by

  • Destroying all the original copies of the document
  • Executing and delivering a written revocation notice to the financial agent
  • Subsequent execution of another power of attorney if the current one expressly allows for this mode of revocation.

Why Legal Help Is Crucial When Creating a Financial Power of Attorney

Powers of attorney are creations of law. Understanding the state’s legal requirements for such documents is essential to ensure your financial power of attorney works as it should.

As experienced estate planning attorneys, we understand the intricacies of creating effective financial powers of attorney. With our guidance, you can ensure your FPOA reflects your wishes and goals and includes any limitations you wish to impose on the financial agent’s authority. 

Legal support and representation are invaluable in the realm of Wills, Estates, Trusts, Guardianships, and powers of attorney, where one misstep can be costly. Trust us to apply our skills and experience in those areas and ensure your assets and finances are secure regardless of life’s unpredictability.

Contact the Law Offices of Wenarsky and Goldstein, LLC

A financial power of attorney is a critical component of estate planning that allows you to appoint a trusted person to handle your financial affairs should you become incapacitated or require Disabled Guardianship in the future. In doing so, you can ensure that decisions about your property and financial assets are made with your best interests at heart.

At the Law Offices of Wenarsky and Goldstein, LLC, we understand the importance of planning for the future and ensuring that your financial affairs are managed with utmost care and dedication.

We pride ourselves on offering professional advice and guidance that is both empathetic and compassionate, and we are here to deliver results that enhance your financial security and peace of mind.

Contact us today for personalized support throughout the financial power of attorney creation process. Let us help as you take positive steps to plan for your future.

Call the Law Office of Wenarsky & Goldstein

At the Law Offices of Wenarsky & Goldstein, LLC, our New York and New Jersey attorneys are experienced and knowledgeable in bankruptcy, estate planning and probate, guardianship, special needs planning, and real estate law. To learn more about how we can assist you with your legal needs, call us today at 973-453-2838.