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Important points about a durable power of attorney in New Jersey

New Jersey residents young and old will have concerns about their loved ones and what will happen to their estates if they become incapacitated. One method that can be used to account for this is a durable power of attorney. Before moving forward with a durable power of attorney, it is important to have a full understanding of what it does, its advantages and how it differs from a basic power of attorney.

With a durable power of attorney, the person will select someone to control their affairs if an incapacity arises. This will prevent the need for the courts to make the decision and name a guardian. Disability can happen to anyone at any time, and it is not necessarily relegated to someone who is elderly. There can be an accident, illness, an injury or simply old age. Not having a durable power of attorney leaves the person at the mercy of the court. If there is a conventional power of attorney, it will not be valid in the event of a declaration of incompetence. The durable power of attorney will stay in effect if there is mental incapacitation.

The durable power of attorney is advantageous because it allows the person to make the decision as to who the representative is; it allows people and their family to know that the worst case scenario of incapacity is accounted for; and it is less expensive than having to go through the courts. A durable power of attorney's wording is such that it says it will stay relevant regardless of the situation. A simple power of attorney does not do that.

When it comes to wills, dealing with inheritance and estates, there is much to consider and it can be confusing and overwhelming. A durable power of attorney is a protective device that takes all possible situations of incapacity into account.

Source: NJ.gov, "Durable Power of Attorney - Questions and Answers," accessed on March 15, 2016

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