Powers of Attorney Explained

Powers of Attorney Explained

Powers of Attorney are very important legal documents that most clients need for their estate and life planning needs. Estate Planning includes planning for contingencies relating not only to death but also end of life care, disability, or life-threatening situations. It is important for everyone regardless of age and social status plan for these events as they are inevitable, as the common saying “Death and Taxes” reminds us. You will have peace of mind knowing that you and your loved ones have a plan in place for when these situations arise.

There are a couple different types of documents that our office can assist you with. During our initial consultation we can discuss these and other documents we would advise you to have prepared.

Specific Power of Attorney

This is a document that is drafted to allow another person to handle a specific task or transaction; usually involving real estate. The purpose of this document is to allow someone to act on your behalf, sign documents or undertake other actions mostly because you cannot physically be present to handle the transaction yourself. These are very common but need to be drafted correctly to ensure that other parties to the transaction are comfortable with the document and to ensure that the transaction moves forward smoothly. It is routine for clients to contact us as a specific transaction approaches, and we are happy to draft these documents for them.

General/ Financial Power of Attorney

This allows an appointed Attorney in Fact to act on your behalf, generally following incapacity, for the purpose of managing your financial affairs. This document gives someone else, usually a spouse or trusted family member, broad powers to handle money and financial matters for you when you find yourself in a position where you are unable to handle them yourself. Generally, in these situations, following an accident or trauma, it is important that someone is in a position to manage these affairs for the protection of your loved ones and often times, you as well. In recent years the laws relating to these types of documents have changed and we urge everyone to meet with an attorney and have any documents they have reviewed. You may need to execute new documents that comply with the 2017 statute.

Health Care Power of Attorney

This is exactly what it sounds like. You cannot combine a financial and health care power of attorney for a variety of reasons, which we can explain to you. This document allows a person to make important health care decisions for you in the event you cannot make them for yourself. It is important to draft these documents so that they comply with the laws of the state, but also so that they are standardized so that Hospitals and other Healthcare providers will accept them. It is additionally a very important step to register these documents with the North Carolina Secretary of State. We urge everyone to meet with an attorney to discuss this process and make sure they understand all the choices with respect to this document.

Please contact us at 919-861-4120 today for an initial Consultation on how we can help you with your Estate Planning needs.

Freezing Your Credit Report at Each Credit Bureau

Freezing Your Credit Report at Each Credit Bureau

The recent data breach at Equifax has a lot of people talking about their credit reports. Thieves who get hold of this personal information stolen from Equifax could use it to open new lines of credit in your name like loans, mortgages, and credit cards. A credit freeze can stop that from happening. It does not affect your credit negatively, but when you want to open a new account yourself, you’ll need to UNfreeze the accounts first. The cost to put a freeze in place or UNfreeze an account is nominal and commonly costs about $5 to $10 per credit rating agency. Freezing your credit report can be done easily because it is a fairly simple process. Each company has an automated system by phone. It only took about 15 minutes!

Visit each credit bureau’s site to get more information about placing a security freeze on your credit report.

Equifax: Freeze Your Equifax Credit Report, 1-800-685-1111 (NY residents 1-800-349-9960)
Experian: Freeze Your Experian Credit Report, 1-888-397-3742
TransUnion: Freeze Your TransUnion Credit Report, 1-888-909-8872

It’s very important to keep the resulting correspondence, which will include numbers needed to lift the freeze with each credit bureau. When the bad guys can’t get the credit report needed for most new accounts, loans, etc., their efforts will become burdensome and they’ll move on to someone else.

Freezing credit is especially wise for the elderly, since they are not as likely to need new accounts, loans, etc., and they are more likely to be victims of identity theft.