Randi Newbery, Estate Planning Lawyer, Livingston, New Jersey (Essex County), (973) 992-5034  
A Wealth of Experience, a Record of Results

Durable Power of Attorney by
New Jersey Estate Planning Lawyer Randi F. Newbery

Your estate plan is so much more than a few pieces of paper. Taken together, these documents -- including your will, a living will, and a power of attorney -- are a gift to yourself and your family. They protect what you have worked so hard for, and they can make all the difference to your family's future. Few things can give you more peace of mind than the confidence of knowing that you have done all you need to do to take care of your family and protect their interests, no matter what. New Jersey estate planning attorney Randi F. Newbery says, "Properly crafted, the documents that make up your estate plan will ensure that your wishes for yourself, your loved ones, and your property are carried out during your lifetime, and beyond."

New Jersey Durable Power of Attorney

Randi says, "Everyone knows they should have a will. Unfortunately, many people never consider the possibility that an injury or illness could leave them unable to handle their own financial, business, and personal affairs. A Durable Power of Attorney should be part of every estate plan."

Why an Ordinary Power of Attorney is Not Enough

In New Jersey, an ordinary Power of Attorney giving a relative, a friend, or a financial institution the power to act for you becomes invalid if you become incompetent. That is why a Durable Power of Attorney is a necessary part of your estate plan. The Durable Power of Attorney enables you to choose someone else to act on your behalf in legal or business matters or to handle your day-to-day financial activities if you should become temporarily or permanently unable to act for yourself. If you don't have a Durable Power of Attorney and you become mentally incapacitated, your loved ones will have to go to court in order to be able to help you. Decisions about who will act as your agent will be left in the hands of a judge.

An Important Part of Long Term Planning

A Durable Power of Attorney should be tailored to your particular situation and updated if your situation changes. It must be signed and witnessed. You can grant broad powers or narrow powers to your agent (or agents) to manage your finances, operate your business, or deal with personal property, real estate, taxes and trusts. Even if you and your spouse own everything jointly, you both should have Durable Powers of Attorney. Without one, your spouse still could make withdrawals on joint bank accounts but could not sell jointly owned stock or real estate without your signature. Nor could he or she name or change a beneficiary on your life insurance or your retirement benefits.

Benefits of a Durable Power of Attorney

Randi Newbery notes that some people prefer to create a Durable Power of Attorney that is effective even while they still are able to handle their own affairs. The advantage to this is that if they do become incapacitated, their agent does not have to produce medical evidence that they are unable to handle their own affairs. The agent you choose is usually a spouse, a grown child, another relative, or a friend, or someone who works with you, such as your banker or your accountant. Your agent is obligated to keep careful records and to act in your best interests. Durable Powers of Attorney can be revoked as long as you have the capacity to do so.

Choose an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney

There are many complexities involved with creating a Durable Power of Attorney. If your agent needs to deal with governmental agencies, for example, such as the Social Security Administration or the IRS, your document must contain special wording required by those agencies or use special forms. Randi Newbery recommends that you discuss your options in detail with a knowledgeable and experienced estate planning lawyer who can advise you. You can reach Randi at 973-992-5034.