Durable Power of Attorney

Talk to an experienced estate planning lawyer

When people become incapacitated, there are still bills that must be paid and financial decisions to make. That’s why it’s important to have a durable power of attorney as part of a comprehensive estate plan. Hongo Law Office, LLLC can guide you through the process so you can be prepared for the future.

Attorney Yuka Hongo has lived and worked in Japan and the United States. She uses her experience, knowledge of estate law, bilingual skills and understanding of Japanese and American culture to help clients create an estate plan that meets their needs and avoids future legal problems.

Choosing someone to make decisions on your behalf

If someone becomes incapacitated and does not have a power of attorney, there is no one with the clear legal authority to make financial decisions for them. Family members would have to go to court to have someone appointed as conservator. This can lead to confusion, delays and even family arguments.

A durable power of attorney is a legal document in which you appoint someone as an agent to make financial decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so. You choose who will make these decisions, which types of decision they are authorized to make and when the power of attorney will take effect.

Many people choose to give their agent broad power over their finances. The agent would be authorized to pay bills, buy and sell property, make investment decisions, access bank accounts, file and pay taxes and transfer property to a trust. But you can also choose to give your agent narrower powers.

It’s important to choose carefully when naming an agent in a durable power of attorney. Your agent can be a family member, close friend, or legal or financial professional. It should be someone you trust. As your agent, this person will need to act in your best interests, keep accurate records and avoid conflicts of interest.

You also decide when the durable power of attorney goes into effect. It could be as soon as you sign the document. You could also make it clear that it does not take effect until a doctor determines that you are incapacitated and can’t make decisions for yourself.

It’s never too early to plan for the future

You can revoke or change the terms of the durable power of attorney at any time, but the authority it grants to an agent ends when you die. That means the agent would not be able to transfer property to loved ones or use your assets to pay funeral expenses. The power of attorney also ends if your agent dies before you, unless you name an alternate agent.

Attorney Hongo can meet with you to create an estate plan that includes durable power of attorney. She can guide you through the estate planning process every step of the way. She will meet with you to review your financial situation, discuss yours goals and explain the options that would work best for you.

Learn more about creating a power of attorney. Contact us to schedule a consultation at our Honolulu office. Attorney Hongo also meets with clients in Japan, which she typically visits twice a year to give estate planning seminars.