Maxine Aaronson, Attorney at Law
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Estate Planning Newsletter

  • The Cy Pres Rule
    If you create an estate planning document leaving property to a charity, but after your death the transfer cannot occur, the court may apply the cy pres rule. The words “cy pres” are French for “as near.”... Read more.
  • The Executor or Administrator of a Will
    When a person dies, a personal representative must be appointed to manage and distribute the decedent’s estate. Types of Personal Representatives A personal representative is any of the following:... Read more.
  • Estate Planning for Non-Citizen Spouses
    A QDOT is a specific type of marital deduction trust that is designed to ensure that non-citizen spouses will eventually pay any taxes that may be due upon distribution of the principal from the trust, even if the surviving spouse... Read more.
  • Filing a Death Claim When an Insured Person Dies
    The beneficiary of a life insurance policy is the person entitled to receive the death benefit of the policy when the insured person dies. In order to collect on a death benefit claim, the beneficiary must usually comply with specific... Read more.
Estate Planning News Links

Durable Powers of Attorney

If you become incapacitated, who is supposed to make decisions for you about the management of your property or your health care? A durable power of attorney allows someone you designate to act on your behalf. It is usually included as part of an estate plan.

A durable power of attorney is different from a non-durable power of attorney because it remains in effect even when you are incapacitated.

You are the “principal” when you create the durable power of attorney, and the “attorney-in-fact” is the person you appoint. Your attorney-in-fact may have the power to carry out all the same activities as you. An attorney-in-fact may be anyone close to you, such as a spouse, relative or close friend. In other words, an attorney-in-fact does not have to be an attorney.

Property Management

The attorney-in-fact designated for managing your property should adhere to your own standards of care. Also, this attorney-in-fact should:

  • Avoid conflicts of interest
  • Follow your directions
  • Keep regular contact with you
  • Maintain records of all transactions
Health Care

Your attorney-in-fact for health care has the duty to make health care decisions for you. Some states have simplified this process. For example, California has a Health Care Decisions Law that makes it easier to name someone to act on your behalf for medical treatment decisions.

More Than One Permitted

You may assign more than one power of attorney to carry out your property management or health care wishes. Usually, if there are 2 or more attorneys-in-fact, they must agree on what actions to take on your behalf.