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How to Maintain Control in The Event of Temporary or Permanent Disability: Power of Attorney


Control is something that we all seek when it relates to important decisions in our lives, especially when those decisions are directly related our finances and personal assets. There may come a time in your life when you are physically incapable of making those decisions, whether that be permanent or temporary as the result of an accident or other medical situation. At SZL, we believe that you should always be in control, and we can help with that by assisting you in executing a proper Power of Attorney. This document allows a person, selected by you, to stand in your shoes and make those decisions for you, in the event that you are unable to.

What Do I Do First?

First and foremost, you must someone you trust to act on your behalf in the event that you are unable to. This person is called your "Agent". I cannot stress enough the importance of this person being someone that you trust. After all, this person will be standing in your place when making incredibly important decisions regarding your assets! You will need someone that you are confident will have your best interest at heart, at all times. This can be a spouse, a sibling, a friend, or even a neighbor. What is important is that you are the person selecting your Agent, and not the Courts.

What Types of Decisions Can My Agent Make?

Your Agent will have the authority to act on your behalf in whatever areas you specify in this document. This power can be broad and sweeping and cover a plethora of arenas including the sale of real property, the buying or selling of stocks or bonds, dealing with benefits from governmental programs and even preparing and filing your federal or state taxes. Alternatively, those powers can be pared down and limited to only the specific areas of your choosing. Also, these powers can take place immediately upon executing the document, or those powers can be “springing” and only take effect upon a finding that you are unable to act for yourself, whether that be because of mental or physical disability. Again, these decisions can and should be made by you and only you.

What Happens If I Don’t Have a Power Of Attorney?

If you do not have a properly executed Power of Attorney and you find yourself unable to make these decisions, the Court will appoint an “Agent” for you, and that is referred to as your Guardian. Rather than leave that decision up to the Court, take the time to come in and see us at SZL so that we can make sure you have the proper plan in place. SZL is happy to offer a Free Consultation to help determine the best estate planning approach for your particular situation. If you have any questions, Justin can be reached at any time by email at or at 410-884-6100. Thank you for considering SZL to help you with your estate planning!