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Your Power of Attorney: Getting Started

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A power of attorney is a legal document allowing another person or entity you choose (called your agent) to act on your behalf, in terms of financial matters such as handling your finances and paying bills.

With a power of attorney, you ensure that if you cannot take care of items yourself, your affairs will still be handled. In the document, you give your agent authority only for the types of transactions you desire. For example, you could have someone perform any of the following tasks:

  • Write checks
  • Borrow money
  • Sell assets
  • Manage property
  • Handle legal claims
  • Gain entry to safe-deposit boxes
  • Prepare and file tax returns
  • Deal with insurance and retirement benefits
  • Exercise stockholder rights
  • Contract for services
  • Make gifts to family and charitable organizations

Your power can be drafted to become effective now or later, if you become mentally incapacitated (a springing power).

Get more helpful estate planning tips.

A power of attorney must be signed by you and may need to be witnessed or notarized, depending on state law. Your selected agent could be your spouse or adult child, a financial professional, or an organization such as a bank. Choose someone you trust to honor your wishes. If you select an individual, name a successor in case the first person predeceases you.

CheckmarkDo You Need a Power of Attorney?
Yes! In case of a sudden accident or prolonged illness or incapacity, you'll want someone you trust to have the legal right to make financial decisions you would typically make, until you're able to make those decisions for yourself again.

When Does This Document End?
This document is used only while you are living and becomes null and void upon your death.

Where Do I Go for Help?
Because the laws vary from state to state, consult an estate planning attorney for more information.

Learn more about how to prepare for the meeting with your attorney.

Please contact Susan Sour at 412 741-2230 ext. 3047 or to learn how a gift to Sewickley Academy can fit into your overall estate plans.

Your Next Steps
Getting Started | Case Study | When and How to Update This Document | Action Items

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The information on this website is not intended as legal or tax advice. For legal or tax advice, please consult an attorney. Figures cited in examples are for hypothetical purposes only and are subject to change. References to estate and income taxes apply to federal taxes only. State income/estate taxes or state law may impact your results.

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