Powers of Attorney

What are Powers of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney is a legal document that gives one person (your “Agent” or “Attorney in Fact”) power to action on your behalf if you are unable.

There are 2 different types of Powers of Attorney that we frequent prepare:

Durable Power of Attorney covers financial decisions.  This document provides access and/or control over legal matters, bank accounts, real property, retirement or other financial accounts or assets.   It is possible to create a limited power of attorney to cover only a specific period of time (if you were going to be out of the country or incapacitated for a limited period of time).  

Healthcare Power of Attorney specifically covers healthcare decisions.   It gives consent for your doctors or hospital to take directive from your named Agent in a situation where you cannot make decision for yourself.

Step-by-Step

  1. Schedule an appointment to come in and meet with Mr. Duncan.  For this appointment, make sure that you have already thought about who is the most responsible person to follow your wishes. Mr. Duncan will take notes as to your wishes (make sure you have proper name spellings as this is very important).
  2. We will prepare the documents.  
  3. If an appointment was not already scheduled before you left your consultation, we will give you call to come back in to review and execute your documents.  We will make you however many copies you want and you will go home with your original (to place in a secure location) and copies to provide to whoever you think may need one.

FAQ

Why do I need Powers of Attorney?

There are some situations where powers of attorney are highly recommended – if you have a high-risk job, frequently travel out of the area or are advancing in age.  However, many young people are now being proactive and obtaining Powers of Attorney to be sure that IF something happens, they are covered.   It ensures that someone can look after your financial affairs if you unexpectedly become incapacitated.  

Who should I choose to act as my Power of Attorney?

The most common choice is a spouse or long-term significant other, followed by your most responsible adult child (or children).  You may also chose a responsible family member or highly trusted friend.     It is, however, recommended that you discuss this with the person (or persons) you chose to make sure that they are willing to act on your behalf if necessary.  

What if I cannot decide between two people to be my Power of Attorney?

It is possible to name both people to act as your Power of Attorney.   If this is your choice, you just need to decide if you want them to be able to act independently or have them make decision together.  

Does having a Power of Attorney mean that I can no longer act on my own behalf?

NO!  The only time that the Power of Attorney will accepted as opposed to your own wishes is if you are declared incompetent by your doctor or the Court, you are incapacitated or you are not available to act on your own behalf.  

Why should I pay an attorney to prepare my Powers of Attorney when I can get them cheaper online?

The online Powers of Attorney may not meet certain State of Tennessee requirements.   Also, the State of Tennessee has certain requirements as to the execution of Healthcare Powers of Attorney that must be met.