A power of attorney is a document that is drawn up to give someone else authority to act on your behalf legally, in the event you become incompetent or incapacitated or not able to do so. Powers of attorney in Alabama can be very broad or they can be very specific depending on what you want to use it for.
As an example of a specific power, when you go to purchase a vehicle, they have you sign a limited power of attorney to allow the title of the vehicle to be transferred into your name. The only authority you give the dealership is to transfer that title. Once that happens, the power is over with.
A durable power of attorney is a document that gives someone authority to do almost anything on your behalf – pay your bills, cash your checks, get into your bank accounts. If I give you a blank check, all you can really take from me is what's in my bank account. But if I give you a broad power of attorney, you can basically take anything from me. So it's important that you only give this power to someone that you trust.
Most spouses will give it to each other a durable power of attorney. It just makes things a lot simpler, because if you don't have a power of attorney, and you need someone to act legally on your behalf, then someone has to go down to the probate court and file for a conservatorship, which takes a lot of time and money. It's a very slow process, very inefficient, and not the preferred way to handle it. So having a power of attorney as part of a comprehensive estate plan in Alabama will avoid that and allow someone to act on your behalf in the event that it becomes necessary to do so.
If you'd like more information about this, we would invite you to register for one of our workshops call 7 Threats to Your your income and assets, or order one of our books. If we can be of help to you, please do not hesitate to contact us.
To learn more about estate planning, how to avoid probate and make it easy on your family if something happens to you, click the link to receive a copy of our book on The Basics of Estate Planning in Alabama or visit events.adamsmillerlaw.com/Workshops.html to register for one of our free estate planning workshops or simply call us at 256 251-2137.