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One of the first questions any elder law attorney will ask a client is whether there is an effective Durable Power of Attorney in place. Typically, a proposed plan that can be put in place for your benefit will depend on the presence of such a document, and will very often turn on the language used in it.
In a nutshell, a Durable Power of Attorney is the cornerstone to any elder law planning exercise. This document enables your appointed agent to act on your behalf in financial matters, whether you are capable or not.
In New York, there is no automatic right for a spouse or a child to make decisions on behalf of an individual. Without a Durable Power of Attorney in place, the reality is that a Guardianship petition will have to be made to the court for authority to manage an individual’s affairs. This is a costly, complicated, bureaucratic process that can best be avoided with the preparation of a Durable Power of Attorney.
Extreme care must be taken in the language used within a Durable Power of Attorney. New York requires express statements, not typically included in a standard form, to enable the implementation of a Medicaid-planning or estate-planning strategy.
The Law Office of Antony M. Eminowicz, PLLC will help ensure that all potential issues are discussed that enable you to make an informed and educated decision.