Powers of Attorney
Virginia Durable (Financial) Powers of Attorney
Adurable financial power of attorney is a document that empowers the people you name to make financial decisions for you in the event you are incapacitated and cannot make them for yourself. Durable means that the power it grants to your agent survives your incapacity. Virginia law presumes powers of attorney are durable unless they state otherwise. It is essential to carefully consider who to appoint to act as your agent under a durable power of attorney. The role requires someone trustworthy and able to keep good records. Your agent is required by law to act in your best interest, not in your own, but this can be a difficult distinction for some people to understand and carry out.
It is essential that your power of attorney is thorough and well-drafted and only gives your agent the powers you want them to have and gives your agent all the powers they need to manage your affairs during your incapacity.
Suppose you do not have a durable power of attorney in place before you become incapacitated. In that case, someone will have to go to Court to ask to be appointed as the Conservator of your estate to have the authority to manage your finances. The Court process takes time and is expensive. It also can create conflict among your loved ones, more than one of whom may think they are the best person to be appointed to manage your finances.
The Purpose of a Living Will and Healthcare Directive to Physicians
A Living Will is not a Will at all. It is a set of instructions to your healthcare providers about what sorts of procedures/interventions/medication you would or would not want if you have a terminal condition and are only being kept alive with machines. We prefer to call this document a Directive to Physicians because it is a more accurate description. Your doctor or hospital should have a form that you can sign, but you can find free forms approved by the Virginia State Bar by clicking here.
Once you have your healthcare directive and end-of-life plan in place, you can upload them to the Virginia Healthcare Directive Registry, called Connect Virginia, by clicking here. Connect Virginia is a free online registry that allows Virginia residents to securely store essential healthcare documents, so that family members, medical providers, emergency personnel, or other persons you designate will know your wishes and be empowered to carry them out.
Choose a Virginia Estate Planning Attorney Who Listens and Makes Your Goals Their Priority
Estate planning involves more than just documents. It is a dynamic process that incorporates your specific goals for yourself and your loved ones into a comprehensive plan for disability and death that minimizes unnecessary costs and addresses all of your assets. One of the most common complaints about attorneys is that they do not listen. At Commonwealth Life and Legacy Counsel, we are committed to listening to our clients and providing legal advice tailored to their unique goals and family structure, which addresses their particular concerns and types of assets. For more information about how to choose a Virginia estate planning attorney, click here.
Choose an estate planning attorney with the knowledge and skills to set up an estate plan to help you plan for your disability, secure your wealth, and communicate your values to the next generation. Our attorneys will help you create a plan for efficient handling of your affairs in your incapacity, and that minimizes costs and taxes and reduces the chance of conflict among your loved ones.