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Power of Attorney

Choosing who should serve as your agent under a power of attorney and what powers and abilities they have should be a well-thought-out decision. An agent under a power of attorney in New Mexico is a fiduciary role and the agent is required to act in the best interests of the principal. This is why it is important to select someone you absolutely trust with this responsibility, whether it be a loved one or a professional fiduciary. There are different types of options to choose from that will allow you to decide if you want financial decisions to be made on your behalf or not.

What is a Power of Attorney?

Power of Attorney in New Mexico is a legal arrangement that grants an individual, known as the “agent” or “attorney-in-fact”, the authority to make decisions and act on behalf of another person, known as the “principal”, in specific legal, financial, or medical matters. This legal instrument allows the agent to step into the shoes of the principal, making critical decisions when the principal is unable, unwilling or incapacitated.This can be a valuable tool in estate planning, enabling individuals to designate trusted representatives who can manage their affairs, make healthcare choices, or handle financial transactions in their best interests. The scope and duration of these powers can vary, depending on the type of option you decide to go with, and it’s an essential component of comprehensive planning for the unexpected.

Types of Powers of Attorney

Not all arrangements are created equal, and understanding the different types available is crucial in tailoring your estate plan to your specific needs. Whether you seek broad delegation of authority or specific control in particular situations, there’s an option to suit your requirements. Let’s explore the key distinctions among the different types of Powers of Attorney options available:

  • General Durable Power of Attorney: This option allows a person chosen by you to handle personal business matters relating to your property, as well as make other financial decisions on your behalf, if you become unable to make those decisions for yourself.
  • Limited Power of Attorney: This can be a good option if you only wish to have someone act on your behalf for particular matters. This person will only be able to act on your behalf for the items listed in the agreement. Limited power of attorney can be very effective and provide you peace of mind in connection with those specific matters, but you still should have a general power of attorney in place.
  • Springing Power of Attorney: A springing power of attorney can be set to go into effect only upon your incapacity, which occurs when two medical providers certify that you can’t make your own decisions due to mental or physical incapacitation.

These various types of arrangements allow you to tailor your estate plan to your unique needs and preferences, ensuring that your financial and legal matters are managed effectively in various scenarios. Consulting with an experienced estate planning attorney can help you determine which type(s) of arrangement are most appropriate for your specific circumstances.

Who Can Override a Power of Attorney?

While a Power of Attorney in New Mexico grants considerable authority to an appointed agent, it’s essential to recognize that there are circumstances where the authority of the agent can be overridden. First and foremost, the principal—the individual who granted the Power of Attorney—always maintains the right to revoke or modify the Power of Attorney as long as they have the mental capacity to do so. Additionally, in situations where there is evidence of abuse, financial misconduct, or the agent acting contrary to the principal’s best interests, the court can intervene and revoke the Power of Attorney. It’s important to understand that the legal system has checks and balances in place to protect the rights and well-being of the principal, ensuring that the agent’s authority remains aligned with the principal’s wishes and the law.

When You Might Need a Power of Attorney in New Mexico

Having a power of attorney in New Mexico can be helpful in many situations. For instance, it can be helpful to nominate your spouse to assist you with paying bills or refinancing a home, so that they can complete paperwork without your physical presence. Additionally, powers of attorney are essential in the event you are ever unable to care for yourself or make your own decisions. Although it may not be the most enjoyable thing to think about, making the proper arrangements and decisions in advance while you are able to can be one of the best gifts you give yourself and your loved ones. Completing a power of attorney in advance gives you the ability to select someone you trust to act in your best interests,rather than leaving that decision to a judge in a conservatorship proceeding.

New Mexico Estate Planning Attorneys That Are Here to Help

With multiple options throughout the state, choosing your estate planning attorney can be overwhelming. Our estate planning attorneys are here to help inform you of your options, help you choose the option that is best for you, and guide you through the process. We are experienced in all matters of estate planning in New Mexico and can help you draft the appropriate documents to help you be prepared for the unexpected. If you have any questions about estate planning documents, please  contact one of our Albuquerque estate planning attorneys today.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get power of attorney?

If you want to be named as someone else’s agent under a power of attorney, the other person will need to sign a power of attorney document. Keep in mind that the other person needs to have legal capacity to sign and must be signing of his or her own free will. If there are doubts about the other person’s capacity, you may need to go to court to be named the person’s guardian and/or conservator.

How can I remove power of attorney from someone?

If you have named someone as your agent under a power of attorney and now want to remove them, you can simply execute a new power of attorney which names the new agent of your choice and revokes all previous powers of attorney. You will need to give a copy of your new power of attorney to anyone who was given a copy of your old power of attorney so that they are aware of the change.

If you have concerns about whether a disabled loved one’s agent is abusing their authority and you think the agent should be removed, you most likely will need to go to court to have a guardian and/or conservator appointed. There is no way for one person to unilaterally remove someone else’s legally appointed agent without a court proceeding.

How do I make provision to power of attorney?

To change the provisions of a power of attorney or health care directive, you need to execute a new document which revokes all prior documents. You also need to make sure that the new document is given to everyone who received a copy of the old document; if you don’t, then those people are entitled to rely on the provisions of the old document.

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