What is a Power of Attorney?
At a high level, anytime you can’t act for yourself or can’t be in two places at once, you need to appoint someone else to act for you. The right mandate (called Power of Attorney in other states) for the situation is critical to your success and well-being.
Have you ever tried to handle business for your parents or spouse only to be met with the proverbial “red tape?” You insist that you have the right to handle the issue, but they insist on speaking to the account holder.
Imagine your family needing to do something for you because you are incapacitated. What then?
Many of us simply assume that a spouse or next of kin will be able to handle our affairs if we are unable to. Unfortunately, this is simply not true. And sadly, some people find out too late and their only option is through a lengthy and extremely costly interdiction process through the courts.
Most people prepare for life and death without ever considering the in between. We all hope that day never comes when we cannot act in our own capacity and best interest. But one thing we can all be certain of is that life is not certain, and we should prepare for those uncertainties.
Because of this, every person, married or single, of any age or stage of life, should have a mandate in place.
Having a Louisiana General Durable Power of Attorney and Louisiana Heathcare Power of Attorney make caring for you simpler. It sounds daunting and dramatic, but it is actually and easy and straightforward process. And with that, you gain the peace of mind of knowing that your life won’t come to a halt and cause damage that could be impossible to rectify.
We’ve answered seven of the most common questions about getting a Louisiana Power of Attorney.
- What is a Louisiana General Durable Power of Attorney?
This mandate is an authoritative document that allows the individual you name as your agent (your spouse, adult children, a trusted family member, or whomever you choose) to step in and act on your behalf in all respects including, pay your bills, file your taxes, buy/sell real estate and continue to handle your personal affairs.
- What is a Louisiana Health Care Power of Attorney?
This mandate authorizes another person (an agent) to make health care decisions in the event you become temporarily or permanently unable to make those decisions yourself. These can include health care decisions concerning surgery, medical expenses, nursing home residency, health insurance, and medication administration.
- Do I need both?
Yes. We always recommend that you have both in place for planning purposes. However, you can choose to only have one and get the other at a later date.
- Who is eligible to be appointed as my agent?
You may appoint any competent adult to be your agent. You should make sure the person you select has an understanding of your wishes and is comfortable accepting the responsibility. Your agent will have the authority to make important decisions for you.
- Who should I choose as my agent?
Your agent can be a spouse, adult child, relative or trusted friend. We recommend someone who lives close to you so that they are available when needed.
It should be noted that, except in certain circumstances, the actions of your agent are legally considered to be your actions so the principal should always choose a trustworthy individual. This is especially important because the mandate is not regulated by the court system so it may be easy for the agent to misuse his or her power.
- Can I get Powers of Attorney for my parents? Spouse? Someone else?
Yes. We can assist you in preparing those documents. However, the Principal, must be able and willing to sign the documents.
If you are concerned, the time to talk to them and the time to act is now. If they ever become unable to make decisions for themselves and are incapacitated due to mental impairment or disease, then it will be to late.
- Is the Power of Attorney the same as a Last Will and Testament? What happens when I die?
No. Your mandate terminates at the time of your death and your agent will no longer have any power.
A Last Will and Testament directs how and to whom your estate is distributed after death. Authority over your funeral and estate is tasked to the Administrator of your Estate, commonly called an Executor.
For more information about preparing a Will and the succession process – contact our sister company Field Law.
**When initiated online only. A member of our staff will contact you to complete the process.**