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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review July 3, 2006 / 7 Tamuz, 5766

Controlling your future through a power of attorney

By Jan L. Warner & Jan Collins


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | By signing a power of attorney, you authorize your chosen agent to perform the acts you designate. You can bestow on your agent either broad or narrow authority. By using a power of attorney, you are creating an agency relationship that is controlled by the law of your state of residence. You may make your power of attorney effective immediately or at the time of your disability or incapacity.


All states and the District of Columbia have legislation authorizing some form of durable power of attorney, but the laws are not uniform. Still, without the "magic words" saying that your power of attorney continues past your incapacity, your power of attorney will terminate when you become incapacitated. All powers of attorney, whether durable or not, terminate upon the death of the principal.


Last week's column dealt with the dangers of using broad gifting authority in your durable power of attorney because, depending on your circumstances and preferences, blanket gifting authority could do you in. This is especially true if you, like more than 97 percent of all Americans, don't have more than $2 million in net assets and don't have to worry about estate planning issues. However, limitations on inter-spousal gifts may interfere with Medicaid planning should one spouse require nursing home care.


So, if your circumstances justify gifting and self-dealing by your agent, make sure that the language you use is clear and is prepared by an attorney who is knowledgeable in this area. And make sure that the authorities granted to your agent are not so broad as to be construed as giving your agent what is known as a "general power of appointment," which could cause your assets to be included in your agent's estate if he dies before you do.


Even though the laws of most jurisdictions protect financial institutions that rely on and accept properly signed and, where incapacity is involved, recorded durable powers of attorney, it appears that many financial institutions would rather have the signature of an incapacitated person on a check than accept the signature of his agent using a durable power of attorney. Some institutions have procedures in place that differ from and conflict with state law.


For example, the "staleness" doctrine, which we have previously discussed, is an artificial "rule" utilized by some banks to not accept durable powers of attorney that were signed more than three to five years before. Therefore, unless there is a good reason to limit its viability, make sure that your durable power of attorney states that it will continue to be valid for an indefinite time. Be sure to take copies of your durable power of attorney to entities with which you transact business, and seek a letter from a qualified representative acknowledging that you have placed your power of attorney on file and want it used should you become incapacitated. And if you revoke or change your power of attorney, make sure that you immediately notify recipients and request that they replace the old copy in their files.


Unlike a guardianship or conservatorship, which are involuntary proceedings, by using a durable power of attorney you are voluntarily creating a contractual agency relationship that is governed by terms you put in the document, not by what a court may order.


Therefore, if an individual has sufficient mental capacity to execute a durable power of attorney, its use is preferable to court-mandated fiduciaries.


That said, one of the main reasons to have a durable power of attorney is to avoid probate protective proceedings that may be brought by disgruntled potential beneficiaries. But since we don't know what the future may hold, make sure to nominate your agent to be your court-appointed fiduciary so that, should protective proceedings be brought, the person you chose to handle your affairs during incapacity will have priority.


While generally not required unless you become incapacitated, it's a good idea to file your durable power of attorney among the public records of your county of residence after you sign it. And, likewise, should you revoke or supplement it, record the new documents as well.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JAN L. WARNER received his A.B. and J.D. degrees from the University of South Carolina and earned a Master of Legal Letters (L.L.M.) in Taxation from the Emory University School of Law in Atlanta, Georgia. He is a frequent lecturer at legal education and public information programs throughout the United States. His articles have been published in national and state legal publications. Jan Collins began co-authoring Flying SoloŽ in 1989. She has more than 27 years of experience as a journalist, writer, and editor. To comment or ask a question, please click here.

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