Advance Directives

Indianapolis Indiana Power of Attorney Lawyer

General Powers of Attorney

A general power of attorney is very broad and provides extensive powers to the person or organization you appoint as your agent. These powers usually include:

  • Buying, managing, or selling real estate
  • Buying, managing, or selling tangible personal property
  • Handling transactions involving U.S. securities
  • Handling banking transactions
  • Maintaining and operating business interests
  • Purchasing life insurance
  • Making gifts
  • Acting on behalf of the principal in fiduciary transactions
  • Settling claims and acting in litigation
  • Handling matters related to government benefits, including military benefits
  • Filing tax returns
  • Disclaiming interests (this has to do with estate planning strategies to avoid estate taxes)
  • Entering safety deposit boxes
  • Entering into contracts
  • Employing professional assistance
  • Making transfers to revocable trusts
  • Exercising rights regarding retirement accounts

    A general power of attorney is usually used to allow your agent to handle all of your affairs during a period of time when you are unable to do so. For example, when you are traveling out of the state or country, or when you are physically or mentally unable to handle your affairs. A general power of attorney is frequently included as part of an estate plan to make sure that you have covered the possibility that you might need someone to handle your financial affairs if you are unable to do so.

    Durable Powers of Attorney

    A "durable" power of attorney is actually a general, special, or health care power of attorney that contains special durability provisions. If you become mentally incompetent while you have a power of attorney document that is already in effect, a durability provision will allow the document to stay in effect.

    You can also sign a power of attorney document that would only go into effect if your doctor certifies that you are mentally incapacitated.

    Selecting an agent for Powers of Attorney

    It is important to select someone you trust to act as your agent under the power of attorney. The person you choose to be your agent will be acting on your behalf regarding your financial or health care issues. You need to choose someone who won't abuse the powers you grant to them and will look out for your best interests.

    In general, an agent is only held responsible for misconduct that's intentional, not for unknowingly doing something wrong. This type of protection is included in most power of attorney documents to help encourage people and organizations to accept the responsibility of being an agent. Usually there is no financial incentive to serve as an agent, as most serve without compensation.

    Health Care Powers of Attorney

    An Appointment of Health Care Representative document, or Health Care Power of Attorney, allows you to designate a person who will have the authority to make health care decisions on your behalf if you are unconscious, mentally incompetent, or otherwise unable to make such decisions. You should discuss the Appointment of Health Care Representative with the agent, expressing your wishes, values and preferences regarding health care.

    An Appointment of Health Care Representative is different from a Living Will because it allows you to appoint someone to make health care decisions for you. A Living Will only allows you to express your wishes concerning life-sustaining procedures.

    Even if you have executed an Appointment of Health Care Representative, you still have the right to give medical directions to physicians and other health care providers as long as you are able to do so. This document only becomes effective when you do not have the capacity to give, withdraw, or withhold informed consent regarding your health care.

    Living Wills

    A Living Will allows you to state whether you want your life prolonged if you will soon die from a terminal illness. In general, a Living Will indicates whether you want certain treatments withheld or withdrawn if they are only prolonging the dying process and there is no hope of recovery.

    As a general rule, Living Wills only go into effect if you're no longer able to make your own health care decisions. For example, if you suffer serious brain damage in a car accident or suffer an incapacitating stroke, you may be permanently unconscious and unable to communicate with your doctor. In this case, a Living Will lets your physician know your wishes concerning certain medical procedures.

    Free Power of Attorney Lawyer Consultation

    By working from his home office on the southside of Indianapolis, attorney R.J. Schoettle maintains an affordable fee structure. For a consultation regarding wills, living wills, powers of attorney, trusts, guardianships and estate planning strategies, contact Indianapolis lawyer, R.J. Schoettle (317) 374-7918 or Email Flexible appointments and affordable rates.

    R.J. Schoettle is certified in Indiana as an Estate Planning and Administration Specialist by the Estate Planning and Administration Specialty Certification Board.

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