After reading the drama unfolding between Omarosa and her deceased fiance actor Michael Clarke Duncan (see story), (MCD left most of his estate to Omarosa). I began to wonder if you are planning on marring someone or are in a long-term relationship is it a good idea to make this person in charge of your last will and testament? Considering the fact to some degree you are in a relationship that is going to result in marriage is it, how should I say, putting the chicken before the egg even hatches? Is it ever okay to give all to someone that maybe your forever over your family that is forever. Is blood thicker than water?
“A power of attorney is a license to steal,” said Bernard A. Krooks, a specialist in elder law at Littman Krooks in New York who nonetheless encourages clients to sign a power of attorney. “You have to be careful who you appoint as your agent.”
In an article in New York Times By DEBORAH L. JACOBS
Some states have tried to reduce abuses. In New York, for example, a new law requires that as of Sept. 1 all new powers of attorney be signed not only by the principal (the person granting the power) but also by the agent — a reminder of his or her obligation to put the principal’s welfare first.
TRUST and estate lawyers routinely tell their clients about the importance of signing a durable power of attorney. Often written at the same time as a will, it appoints a family member, friend or adviser as an agent to act on your behalf in financial and legal matters — even if you become incompetent. When thinking about signing a durable power of attorney, it is important to consider the following issues:
WHOM CAN YOU TRUST? The best person to put in charge, lawyers say, is a close family member — preferably one who lives nearby.
WHAT POWERS SHOULD BE INCLUDED? You ought to authorize your agent to take any financial action you could take yourself, said Lawrence P. Katzenstein, a lawyer with Thompson Coburn in St. Louis. This could include estate-planning strategies like financing college savings plans for children or grandchildren, prepaying charitable bequests and converting traditional I.R.A.’s to Roth I.R.A.’s.
WHEN DOES THE DOCUMENT TAKE EFFECT? You can choose to make it effective from the moment you sign it, or specify that it be activated by a specific event, for instance, if you become incompetent.
WHERE IS A POWER OF ATTORNEY VALID? Because state laws vary, you cannot assume that a power of attorney signed in one state will be honored in another. Howard M. Hujsa, a lawyer with Cummings & Lockwood in Bonita Springs, Fla., recalled a client whose son was unable, under his mother’s power of attorney, to sell her house after she became incompetent.
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