At the time that you signed on your estate planning documents, one of the documents signed was the Property Power of Attorney. This document is used in the event you become incapacitated and your agent needs to step in on your behalf to continue paying bills and handle any other financial matters that might arise. Most of our clients sign what we call a “springing” Property Power of Attorney. In order for this document to become effective, a family member generally contacts this office to inquire about the process. Our office can provide you, the family member, with two physician’s reports that need to be completed by two (2) separate physicians on behalf of the person who is deemed incapacitated. Each physician must complete the form certificating that the person is in deed unable to handle their financial matters. Once the reports are completed you will need to set-up an appointment with our one of our attorneys to discuss the next steps. Please note getting two (2) physicians’ certificates can take up to thirty (30) days. In addition, our attorneys’ calendars fill up quickly, so it could take an additional week or two before we can get you in to discuss these issues with one of our attorneys. Please understand that staff members or paralegal in this office cannot give any advice regarding this matter as they are not attorneys. Once the incapacitated individual dies, the Property Power of Attorney is no longer valid, as it is only in effect if the person is incapacitated. When someone passes away you should contact this office so that we can set-up an appointment with an attorney to discuss the next steps.
The other power of attorney you signed at the time of your close was the Health Care Power of Attorney. This document is different from the Property Power of Attorney. This document is only for health care decisions. The individuals listed on your Property Power of Attorney and Health Care Power of Attorney are not always one in the same.