Power of Attorney

Series Part 1: When Should You Create an Estate Plan?

by Jack Morrison on August 11, 2011

Welcome to our 2-part series on “When Should You Begin Thinking About Creating an Estate Plan?” Right away, I can tell you the answer to this question is relatively easy. You should create an estate plan when:

Something Significant Changes in Your Life

This might sound intuitive, but if you’re like most people, you’re so busy with your everyday life it’s hard to stop and think about planning for the future. A significant, life changing event can include:

  • Buying a house
  • Getting married
  • Having a baby
  • Getting divorced
  • Remarrying
  • Getting ill
  • Acquiring an asset

If something in your life changes, then you need to take a moment to reflect. Where do you want the asset to go? How will this change your life? And of course, how do you want your affairs resolved in the event something happens to you?

Consider these two scenarios:

  1. Buying a house: if the house is solely in your name and you have no children, it goes to your parents. But what if your parents aren’t capable of taking care of it? Maybe they’re in a nursing home and maintaining a house will be a burden. Then that’s something you need to think about and plan for.
  2. Getting married: getting married means that you’re adding someone into your life. Make sure both parties understand where your assets are. And, that you understand the legalities behind it. For example, joint tenants have everything in joint accounts. But, if you don’t want the debt from one party to impact another, then you might not have joint accounts for everything. If something happens to the other person—like your spouse dies or becomes incapacitated—then the other party doesn’t have immediate access to resources. In this case, a power of attorney (POA) would be an invaluable legal document to have.

My name is Attorney Jack Morrison. As a Clinton and Worcester Estate Planning Attorney, I assist clients every day with creating and updating their estate plans. Call my office at 508.852.7800 or reach out via our contact form.

You’ve worked hard to grow your pot of gold over the last several years. Your kids are now grown and married and you and your spouse are nearing, if not at, retirement.  In light of this stage of life you’re in, have you adequately prepared for the future? Because if you don’t prepare an estate plan, your luck can run out. 

In the event of an unforeseen circumstance or your inevitable passing, you want to make sure that your wishes are carried out. For example, do you want part of your estate and hard-earned money to go to your child’s spouse, your son-in-law or daughter-in-law? Probably not. 

An estate plan will ensure that you distribute your gold, and your assets, to where you intend. If you need a refresher on estate planning, check out this guide from CNN Money. You will learn: 

So if you haven’t updated your estate plan or you don’t have an estate plan at all, take this St. Patty’s Day holiday to heart and make your own luck. Plan today for your—and your family’s—future. 

Call my office, the Law Office of Jack Morrison today at 508.852.7800 or reach out via our contact form. I am a Worcester and Clinton Estate Planning Attorney and have helped hundreds of individuals and families with their estate plans and wills.

How Does A Power of Attorney Work in An Estate Plan?

by Jack Morrison on January 28, 2011

If you’ve seen the movie, Rocky V, then you are familiar with Power of Attorney. Remember how Rocky Balboa lost all his money? His irresponsible brother-in-law Paulie was tricked into signing a power of attorney over to Balboa’s accountant. The unscrupulous accountant in turn lost all the money and assets through embezzlement and bad business deals. Penniless, Rocky and his family moved back to the Philadelphia neighborhood where he grew up.

But outside of Hollywood, what is Power of Attorney and what does it mean for you? Power of attorney is defined as:

A written document signed by a person giving another person the power to act in conducting the signer’s business, including signing papers, checks, title documents, contracts, handling bank accounts and other activities in the name of the person granting the power.

Basically, it gives you legal permission for another adult to act on your behalf. It provides the legal authority to act for someone else when a person is unable to do so, whether they’re unavailable or unable to communicate. It can be granted for a specific, limited purpose or for much broader purposes, such as handling all your financial affairs. You might need a power of attorney if you’re going away for an extended vacation, if you become incapacitated or if you’ll be away on military duty.

As part of an estate plan, establishing a power of attorney in advance is very important. It allows you to plan for who will be making decisions that affect your legal, financial and/or medical well-being. There are a few requirements to make a power of attorney legal: it must be in writing, contain your signature, be notarized and witnessed.

Do you need a power of attorney? 99% of the time, the answer is “YES.” Although it’s scary giving power to another person, it’s a necessity to plan for unexpected future events. For a free consultation on your power of attorney and estate plan, call my office today at 508-852-7800. Consultations are always free and I can answer any questions you have about this important initiative.