Residents of Michigan’s Lake Huron shoreline communities can turn to an estate planning attorney at Biddinger & Bitzer to make plans for what will happen in case of incapacity. Making a power of attorney is one of the most important things you can do to be prepared in case you get sick or hurt. There are specific rules that must be followed for the creation of a power of attorney and you can make your power of attorney operate in different ways depending upon your preferences. Our legal team will explain your options, including the option to create a springing power of attorney.
What Is a Springing Power of Attorney?
A springing power of attorney is a specific kind of legal document you can use to give someone authority to act on your behalf, but only if something happens to you.
To understand a springing power of attorney, you need to understand what a power of attorney (POA) is, how it works, and why a power of attorney should be a part of your incapacity plan.
A power of attorney allows you to give someone else authority to act on your behalf. You can make a limited power of attorney to allow someone to act for you in a very specific set of circumstances. If you must be out of town during a business transaction and there are papers you need to sign, you can create a limited power of attorney to give a trusted person the legal authority to sign papers for you.
Because a power of attorney allows you to designate a person to act on your behalf, you can use a power of attorney to plan for incapacity. You can name an agent or attorney in fact and give that person broad authority to act for you in all of your decision-making and in all transactions. The agent will have a fiduciary duty to act in your best interests. Because you get to select a person who acts on your behalf, there’s no risk that an inexperienced or inappropriate person will be appointed as your guardian or conservator since you are the one who controls who acts for you. Your loved ones are also spared the need to go to court and get a guardian or conservator appointed to act on your behalf if you get sick, old or hurt and cannot act independently any more.
In Michigan, if you want a power of attorney to be durable, you’ll need to designate in writing that it should be durable. Michigan code section 700.5501 stipulates that your power of attorney must state: “This power of attorney is not affected by the principal’s subsequent disability or incapacity, or by the lapse of time,” or “This power of attorney is effective upon the disability or incapacity of the principal,” or must use similar words. It’s important you specify your power of attorney is a durable when you make the POA as part of your incapacity plan, because otherwise your grant of authority would end in exactly the situation you intended the grant of authority to be used.
If you do not want to give your chosen agent immediate authority to act on your behalf but you want your agent to only have authority once something has happened to leave you incapacitated, you would need to make a springing power of attorney. A springing durable power of attorney comes into effect only after something has happened to you s0 it comes into effect when you become incapacitated, exactly when you need it to give your trusted agent authority to act.
How can an Estate Planning Attorney Help You With a Springing Power of Attorney?
Biddinger & Bitzer can provide assistance with the creation of a springing durable power of attorney. We have helped many residents from St. Clair to Presque Isle along Michigan’s eastern shoreline to make their incapacity plans so they and their loved ones will not be left in a bad situation when and if something happens to cause illness or injury. To find out more about how our compassionate and knowledgeable legal team can help you with protecting yourself and your family in case of incapacity, give us a call at (989) 872-5601 or contact us online today.