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What Does it Mean to Have Power of Attorney in NJ?

October 08, 2022

What Does it Mean to Have Power of Attorney in NJ?

As you move through the estate planning process, you’ll have to create a power of attorney, or POA. In New Jersey, a power of attorney is someone who can make decisions on your behalf if you are otherwise unable to do so. Below, we take a look at the different types of power of attorney you may need and how you can appoint the right person. 

Property Power of Attorney vs. Medical Power of Attorney

When it comes to power of attorney, there are generally two types you’ll need: one to handle decisions regarding your personal property, and one designated to handle healthcare decisions. 

For example, someone who has property power of attorney may be able to list and sell your home and handle your taxes. A medical power of attorney, on the other hand, is able to make decisions based on your living will and best interests. So, for example, if you indicate in your living will that you do not wish to have life-extending services, your power of attorney can make the decision to end life support on your behalf. 

A medical power of attorney may either have limitations such as only having the role for a set duration of time or none. Likewise, you can give your POA total authority or outline specific wishes. It depends on a situation-by-situation basis. 

How to Choose the Right Power of Attorney

Though they’re extremely important to have, designating someone as a power of attorney isn’t a decision you should take lightly. Here are some things to consider when choosing the right power of attorney: 

  • Are They Able to Carry Out Your Wishes in Spite of Their Own? For example, if you are thinking about making your child your medical power of attorney, but they do not want to be responsible for having to end life support, then they probably won’t be the best option. When it comes to choosing a POA, you want to make sure they’re emotionally up to the job, especially when the situation is challenging, or if it goes against other family members’ wishes. 
  • Pick Someone You Trust and Who Can Stay Organized: Your POA will be responsible for a lot of transactions in the future, both medical and financial, so you want to ensure you pick someone who you not only trust to carry out these tasks correctly but can keep everything organized so nothing slips through the cracks. 
  • Make Sure They Understand What is Expected of Them: More often than not, people may select a power of attorney, or worse, agree to become a power of attorney without having a firm understanding of what the role involves or how long it will take. By outlining what this process will entail up front, you and your designee can have an honest conversation about whether or not they’re the right fit for the job. 

Keep in mind that even though a power of attorney ends after someone passes away, the responsibilities with it, including making both financial and legal decisions carry on if the same person named as executor after death was also the power of attorney during life. Knowing up front how to delegate a power of attorney, and what you may need them for is imperative if you are in the process of estate planning. 

Contact a Fort Lee Estate Planning Attorney for a Consultation in New Jersey

You deserve to have peace of mind about whether your loved ones will be taken care of after you are gone. The best way to plan for your future, and the future of your close family members or other loved ones, is to speak with an estate planning lawyer about your specific circumstances and financial situation. The experienced New Jersey estate planning attorneys at the Choi Law Firm assist clients with wills, trusts, and other estate planning documents. We represent clients across North Jersey, including Bergen County, Passaic County, and Essex County, and throughout New York, including Queens County, Nassau County, and NYC. Call us anytime at 201-613-5557 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a confidential consultation. Our main office is located at 1372 Palisade Avenue, 2nd Floor, Fort Lee, NJ 07024, and we also have an office located in Flushing, NY at 164-01 Northern Boulevard.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

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