Power of Attorney

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Why You Need a New Power of Attorney?

A current and comprehensive durable power of attorney is the most important legal document an elder needs. For a modest fee, you can name a trusted person to act for you and protect your financial interests without bearing the costly and time consuming anguish of a petition for guardianship if you become incapacitated. Most existing power of attorney documents that we have reviewed are not up‑to‑date with current tax and long-term care law. "Durable" means it is effective even if you later become disabled or incapacitated. Thus, a durable power of attorney can avoid need for a court appointed guardianship at a cost of 10x the power of attorney.

New Jersey significantly changed its power of attorney law in 2004 to require asset preservation planning to be specifically authorized in that document. If you have a New Jersey power of attorney that was drafted prior to 2004, the document may be missing crucial language to permit your agent to protect assets. We can review your power of attorney, will and living will as part of our "fee free" consultation.

The Importance of a Power of Attorney Document

A power of attorney is a written document in which you appoint another person to act on your behalf (as your attorney in fact) if you are in circumstances where you cannot act for yourself. The New Jersey power of attorney law allows your agent to conduct banking transactions and with proper language, to protect your assets if you require long-term care in an assisted living or nursing home. The party you select has a fiduciary duty to preserve and protect your assets, enforceable by a court.

The power of attorney that our attorneys will draft for you is not a boilerplate document where we fill in your name and ask you to sign at the bottom. One size does not fit all when it comes to a power of attorney. Our power of attorney form options to be selected in the document, in order to tailor the document to fit your needs based on your age, your health conditions and the size of your estate.

Power of Attorney vs. Guardianship

If you have a power of attorney in place, your loved one will not have to go through the anguish and humiliating experience of seeking a guardian to be appointed by a court if they become incapacitated. Someone may also contest and oppose seeking the guardianship. Often, you can authorize a power of attorney to do everything a guardian could do and also assure that if a guardian must be appointed, your personal choice of a guardian will be considered by a Court.

If you wait too long and become incapacitated, you may not be considered legally capable to appoint a power of attorney/agent since a higher degree of legal capacity is required to name a power of attorney than to do a will.

Don McHugh and Vince Macri are 2 of only 450 attorneys nationwide who are certified in elder law (CELA) by the National Elder Law Foundation.

Free Lawyer Consultation

For a free initial consultation with one of our attorneys to discuss power of attorney designations, call 973-887-4254 or fill out the "Fee Free" contact form on this Web site.