How To Get Power Of Attorney: Everything You Need To Know

The question of how to get power of attorney is an important one, and it’s one you should ask yourself. Do you need a power of attorney for any reason? Do you need to issue a power of attorney for anything? There might not seem to be much reason right now for you to give power to someone else in a legal capacity, but you may not be aware of the many reasons a power of attorney is necessary for your everyday life. It’s time to learn what it is, what it means, and how it can protect you in the rare instance you are unable to make a decision on your own.

How to get power of attorney is simple. Contact an attorney, create a power of attorney for any necessary reason, and allow someone else to make legal, medical, or financial decisions on your part at any time you are unable to do so for yourself. Before you sign a power of attorney allowing someone else to do anything for you, however, understand what you are signing and what it means. It’s a binding legal document, and you must be aware of what it means to you and your family before you sign the dotted line.

What Is Power of Attorney and What Does It Do?

Before you learn how to get power of attorney, let's understand what it is. It’s a legal document that provides power to you or to someone of your choice to make legal, financial, or medical decisions in the instance you or someone else is unable to do so. If you become incapacitated and cannot make legal, financial, or medical decisions, the person you hand over power of attorney to has the right to make those decisions on your behalf. This form is very specific, and it does not simply provide someone with the power to make all your legal, financial, or medical decisions if not specifically stated on the power of attorney legal document.

Choosing A Power of Attorney

Before you learn how to get power of attorney, you must learn how to choose your power of attorney. This person is making major life decisionsin your absence, either physically or mentally, and you must be able to trust this person. It’s best to provide a power of attorney to multiple people, in multiple instances, to ensure the best decisions are being made.

You should choose someone who meets the following requirements.

  • Trustworthy
  • Responsible
  • Wise
  • Careful
  • Considerate
  • Intelligent
  • Has your best interests at heart

Choosing someone to hand over power attorney to is a careful decision. This person is capable of making decisions on your behalf when you cannot. If they make the wrong decision, will you be able to survive that decision? Most people choose a spouse, a parent, a sibling, or even their personal attorney to stand as their power of attorney.

Reasons You May Need Power of Attorney

agreement of 2 people

Before you learn how to get power of attorney, you should know why you might need one.

  • To make medical decisions
  • You are going on a trip
  • You are leaving your kids with a loved one while traveling
  • You are being deployed
  • You are planning for a specific event

There is no limit to the number of reasons you might need a power of attorney.

Medical Reasons

If you ask someone to become a power of attorney for medical reasons, it might be for more than one reason. For example, you might ask them to make medical decisions because you are going under the knife, and you want someone to be there to make medical decisions in case you cannot.

On another note, you might have a medical power of attorney in case something happens. Having someone around to make your legal medical decisions in case something unexpected happens to you in the future and you become incapacitated is not a bad idea. For example, if you are injured in a car accident you didn’t see coming, having a medical power of attorney helps you when you are unable to make your own medical decisions.

You Are Active Military

Not only do you need a power of attorney when you are in the military for medical reasons, but you also need it for financial reasons. For example, let’s say you are deployed, but you and your spouse are also selling your home. If that sale goes through, you cannot be home to sign the paperwork at closing. You need to have a power of attorney present to sign on your behalf. Your attorney or your spouse make a good power of attorney choice for a situation like this one.

You Are Traveling

Whether you’re just on a trip around the world or you’re in the Caribbean for a long weekend, you need a power of attorney for several reasons. The first is in case something happens, and you need someone to have access to your financial records when you are away. You never know what might happen while traveling, and you never know when you need access to more funds you can only get in person.

The other reason this is a good idea is that you have children, and they’re home with a grandparent or relative. If something happens to your child while you are away, you need to provide the power of attorney to the person who is keeping them to make quick medical decisions. The last thing you want is to be out of the country or too far away to get to the hospital in a timely manner when your child needs medical attention, and there is no one there with the power to provide permission.

Types of Power of Attorney

man signing in a document

Now that you know why you might need a power of attorney, you must know what kind you need. There are four major types of power of attorney. Getting to know each one is important. It’s also imperative you learn that you might need more than just one for various reasons.

Springing Power of Attorney

When decided how to get power of attorney in your life, you should know about this one. It’s designed to give power to someone else only when a specific instance occurs. For example, you are incapacitated and unable to make a decision on your own.

Durable Power of Attorney

This is a power of attorney used for a lifetime. It doesn’t matter what it is for, only that you must sign documents when you want to revoke this power of attorney. It is a long-term legal matter.

Medical Power of Attorney

This type of power of attorney is used when you are unable to make sound decisions. It’s not necessarily a document that allows someone to make medical decisions. It’s used when you are no longer of sound mind and body, which renders you incapable of making decisions on your own.

Conventional Power of Attorney

This is called a limited power of attorney because it’s specific. You only give the power to make a very specific decision in a very specific situation. For example, you sign this stating the power of attorney can sign on the sale of your home only if you are on a plane without cellular service at the time of closing. If every detail is not accounted for, the power of attorney is not valid.

How to Get Power of Attorney

power attorney

How to get a power of attorney is simple, but you must follow a certain number of steps. It’s important you don’t miss any steps because you can hinder your ability to get the power of attorney. First, you must talk to the person you want to become your power of attorney. They are okay with must agree to be the responsible party in your specific situation. They will be required to sign the legal document as well.

The next step is to determine the type of power of attorney you need. You can print a form from the Internet, or you can speak to your attorney about this. Now, check with the state in which you live to find out what the requirements are when learning how to get power of attorney for your specific situation. If you want to be sure your document is as legal and binding as possible, simply call your attorney. Once you have the form, you and the person you choose to be your agent must sign it. Notarizing the form is helpful, too. Now, make copies and provide it to the person you chose, keep one for yourself, and give one to your attorney or put it in a safe deposit box or safe.

Conclusion

the power attorney

How to get a power of attorney is easy, but it’s figuring out what kind you need, how to word it, and how to ensure it’s legally binding without any question that’s the difficult part. You must know what you need, and you must ensure that your document is carefully worded to ensure that it conveys the message you are trying to send. Call an attorney to help you with your power of attorney if you’re unsure what you’re doing. Legal matters are always best handled when you know you’re making the correct decisions that will be legal and binding.

How To Change Your Name: Understanding The Legal Process

Have you ever wondered how to change your name? The legal process might be more complicated than you think.

Whether you’re getting married, switching back to your maiden name after a divorce, looking for a name that better fits your identity, or just looking for a change of pace, changing your name is a way to adjust your identity to make you feel more comfortable and confident.

What’s in a name? A lot of paperwork, apparently. Changing your name seems fairly simple, but it can be a complicated, lengthy, costly process. In circumstances outside of marriage and divorce, changing your name requires attending a court hearing and explaining to a judge why you chose your new name. You will also need to update your name everywhere that it's currently used, which can be a time-consuming and headache-inducing process.

If you're thinking of making the switch, it's important to know how to change your name before embarking on the process, so you're fully prepared.

Reasons to Change Your Name

There are quite a few reasons why someone might choose to change their name.

Marriage and Divorce

These huge life events often inspire name changes. Since women traditionally take their husband's last name after marriage and revert to their maiden name after a divorce, their name-changing process is streamlined. There's less paperwork, and the process doesn't involve a court hearing. If a husband is taking his wife's name instead, the name-changing process is only streamlined in California, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, and North Dakota.

It's also becoming more common for a couple to combine their last names into a new name by joining their names with a hyphen or melding them together into an entirely new name. This name-combining process is streamlined in some states, but not all. If you're looking into how to change your name to a combined name, you will need to research the process in your specific state.

Disliking Your Name

Maybe your parents got a little too creative when choosing your first nameand you’re stuck with a name that’s difficult to spell or pronounce, negatively impacting your social life or career. Maybe your last name sounds similar to something inappropriate, making you the subject of ridicule at school or work. Maybe you’re just sick of not being able to find your name on personalized items in gift shops.

Or maybe you have the opposite problem and you’re stuck with a popular name that’s overused. Maybe you’re sick of having to stop what you’re doing and look up whenever someone calls out “Sarah?” or “Mike?” and you want a name that's a little more unique and distinctive.

Whatever your personal reason is, your name represents you and introduces you to others. If you feel strongly that you’d be happier with another name, you might be interested in learning how to change your name.

Matching Your New Identity

If you are transitioning genders, changing your name to reflect your new identity may help you feel comfortable and confident. It can also encourage friends and family to learn to stop calling you by your old name and embrace your new identity.

Embracing Family History

Maybe you want to take the name of a relative or ancestor whom you admire, or resurrect an old surname that your family stopped using over time; you might choose to honor your family's history by adopting the name and preserving it for future generations.

Reasons You Can’t Change Your Name

Most people are allowed to change their names for any reason they choose, but there are a few reasons why you might be prevented from completing the name-changing process.

You need to be careful of what name you pick; you can’t give yourself an intentionally misleading name, like a celebrity name. You can't change your name to a racial slur or anything that’s offensive or threatening. You also can’t change your name to escape debt, hide from criminal liability, or to commit a crime.

Impacts of Changing Your Name

name changing discussion

Our names are incredibly important parts of our lives and our identities, and changing them requires time, patience, and paperwork. Once you have your new name, how will the change affect your life?

Social Impact

Your friends and family have been calling you by your original name your entire life, so it might take them time to adjust to your new name. They may initially slip up or hesitate to call you by your new name.

Your parents might not take to the new name right away; chances are, if they chose your name for you, it might disappoint them to see you let it go. However, you need to remind them that it's your name and your choice. You're the one who has to go through life with your name, so it's important that you're happy with it.

Patience is key; remind your loved ones about your new name if they ever forget, and hope that they’ll eventually catch on and respect your choice.

Updating Your Name

Once you change your name, you will need to let everyone in your life know. This includes updating your social media profiles, credit cards, voter registration, license and passport, subscriptions, and so on.

This can cause a hectic period after the name-changing process, especially if you slip up and forget to change something important. For instance, if you don't update your driver's license and passport, you might have difficulty traveling.

The name-changing process requires a lot of organization and, inevitably, some stress. It’s important to make a list of all the various institutions that know you by your old name so you can inform them of the change. You will also need to keep track of all the new documents you'll be receiving, as your old documents no longer accurately represent you.

How to Change Your Name

court sign documents

The process of how to change your name varies depending on the circumstances.

After Marriage

This process is a little simpler than other methods of changing your name as it's more common.

First, contact the Social Security Administration. You’ll need to fill out a form and mail their offices a few different forms of identification and your marriage certificate. Your new documentation should come in the mail.

After Divorce

The process of changing your last name back to your maiden name after divorce is usually handled during divorce proceedings. Your Decree of Dissolution should reflect your name change.

Other Reasons

Changing your name for any reason other than marriage becomes a little more complicated; the government wants to make sure you’re not making the name change for shady reasons. You’ll need to file a Petition for Change of Name with your local court clerk and attend a court hearing.

Don’t be intimidated by the court hearing; it's not as scary as it sounds. Although the process involves physically going to court and explaining the name change to a judge, you won't need to make a hard case for your new name. The hearing is just standard procedure to make sure you’re not using the name change to run from debt, trick someone, or commit a crime. The very idea of a hearing should dissuade the name-changers who are in it for the wrong reasons.

Petition

The petition you file includes your current name, proposed name, and Social Security number. You may also have to sign the petition to assert that you’re not changing your name for criminal reasons.

You have to sign the petition in front of a witness and notary. You may need to pay between $100 to $150 to file the name-change petition, and an additional fee to have it notarized. Once the form is in, your court hearing will be scheduled.

Court Hearing

During the hearing, you’ll answer questions from a judge or a magistrate about why you want to change your name. Unless the judge thinks the name you've chosen is threatening or that you're changing for criminal reasons, he or she should approve your new name. You’ll then receive a certified copy of the Court Order, which you need to present to various institutions as verification of your new name.

You might also be required to announce your new name in a newspaper ad. If creditors or other interested parties see the name change, it gives them the opportunity to object. You’ll have to pay a fee to post the announcement.

After the Name Change

The next step is letting various institutions know that you’ve changed your name so they can continue to contact you.

Some of these institutions include:

  • The IRS
  • Your employer
  • Landlord
  • Post office
  • Your school or alumni association
  • Airlines where you have rewards points or miles

And anywhere else you might have a subscription or plan.

Conclusion

lawyer legal process

Chances are, if you’ve researched how to change your name and you're still willing to go through this lengthy, involved process, you’ve got your heart set on the new you. Although the entire process can be tedious and costly, especially if you're changing for reasons other than marriage or divorce, it's worth it to have a name that fits your identity and makes you feel happy and comfortable.

Just be sure to spell your new name correctly when filing your paperwork; having to change your name a second time because of a typo would be embarrassing!

Types Of Lawyers: Your Guide To Finding The Right Lawyer

Finding the right types of lawyers or attorneys for your case is important. Cases can last months or even years, and you will probably need to be in regular correspondence with your lawyer. There are many types of lawyers. Some are highly specialized while others may handle a wide range of cases. Different types of lawyers’ fee structures will differ.

Choosing a lawyer is a highly personalized decision and there are likely to be many choices in your area. Usually, lawyers’ geographic areas determine to some extent what kind of law they practice. A lawyer in a small town will probably have more of a general practice while lawyers in urban areas will be more specialized. Sometimes a lawyer will decide he or she can handle all of a clients’ needs; at other times he or she may send their client to a specialist.

Some law firms focus on one specialized area of law, such as intellectual property. Other law firms comprise several lawyers whose practice areas complement one another. For example, Lawyer A would focus on one practice area such as Real Estate, Lawyer B would practice an area such as Estate Planning, and Lawyer C would focus on litigation and trial work. This loose collection of specialists would be called a general practice law firm.

You can always find more information about a lawyer by visiting their website or by calling them. Most types of lawyers offer free consultations where you can get a feel for them before starting payment.

Types of Lawyers

There are multiple factors to consider when talking about the different types of lawyers out there. It depends on the case and your budget, for starters. The best-connected lawyers with stellar track records will command a higher price. They will probably have offices in downtown office buildings and have great views. The size of the law firm may determine how much personalized attention you get. If you are a small client at a firm that deals mostly with big-name corporate clients, you may get lost in the shuffle.

There are many types of lawyers for all different cases. However, most lawyers fall into two categories; they practice either civil law or criminal law.

1.Criminal Law Lawyers

criminal-lawyer-in-eaton

Criminal law pertains to people who have been accused of committing a crime. Lawyers work as criminal defense attorneys to protect your rights and make sure you get a fair trial. They represent you and are with you every step of your case. They help you in cases against a person, like assault and battery, cases against property, such as burglary or arson, or any other criminal offense. If you are accused of a crime, it is imperative to find a competent criminal defense attorney.

2.Civil Law Lawyers

civil law

The second type of lawyers deal with civil law. Civil law covers an array of specialization. These are some types of lawyers who practice civil law and their specialties.

 

PUBLIC INTEREST

Public interest lawyers usually work at non-profits or governmental agencies and charge lower fees. Public interest lawyers may be open to taking cases pro bono.

 

ESTATE PLANNING

Estate planning lawyers help their clients plan for what happens to their estate after they die. They draft legal documents like powers of attorney, trusts, wills, and deeds.

 

FAMILY

Family lawyers handle cases pertaining to adoption, divorces, and custody cases. They argue for their client’s interests in court, represent their client in custody cases where they are arguing for or against child custody, and also help handle adoptions, which is often a lengthy legal process. Also, mediation or settlement hearings are a positive alternative to trials in these cases and family lawyers help facilitate these.

 

IMMIGRATION

Immigration lawyers specialize in helping their clients navigate the immigration process, meaning change their status, get green cards or visas, and avoid deportation. Immigration lawyers may help H-1B visa holders, for example, or help “extraordinarily talented” individuals, such as athletes or musicians, come to the United States.

 

PERSONAL INJURY

Personal injury lawyers help people who have personal injury complaints. Here, the personal injury lawyer assists the injured party in recouping damages from a person or institution. For example, there have been stories in the news about customers suing McDonald’s about hot coffee spills, leading to warnings printed on cups that warn customers their beverages are hot.  You may also hire a personal injury attorney to defend you if you are being sued.

How Do I Know Which Kind of Lawyer I Need?

The types of lawyers you should look for depends on your case and its complexity, where you live, and what you can afford. We recommend you search online for the best types of lawyers near you on sites such as www.avvo.com. With Avvo, you can search for lawyers near you by practice areas.

Avvo.com creates ratings for the lawyers on their sites from information taken from their profiles, information from state bar associations, and other organizations that license legal professionals. Avvo only provides ratings for lawyers whose profiles have been claimed. Otherwise, they do not provide a numerical rating. However, 97 percent of lawyers in the United States are rated on Avvo.

How Are Avvo Ratings Determined?

Avvo ratings, which are scored 1-10, are based on the lawyer’s experience and background, their legal community recognition such as peer endorsements, associations, awards, and legal thought leadership track records including speaking engagements and publications. All factors affecting a lawyer’s Avvo rating are visible. You can also read reviews of your prospective lawyer on Avvo from past clients.

What to Look for in a Lawyer

1.Positive Rapport

It is very important that you feel comfortable with your lawyer. Honesty is key. Your lawyer can best help you when you give him or her complete and accurate information. Your lawyer’s job is to represent you. Trust and an open line of communication between the two of you is very important. Changes to your case may come at any moment, information may be required of you, and it is possible you will need to be in regular contact with this person, especially if it’s something like a divorce case.

2.Availability and Response Time

You can feel out your prospective lawyer’s availability before you sign a contract by sending a few phone calls and emails to see how fast you get a response. If your concerns and questions are addressed quickly, then you may just have found the right lawyer for you.

3.Track Record

You can search any prospective lawyer’s name online to see what has been said about him or her. You can check your state bar association’s website to see if any complaints have been lodged against your prospective attorney.

You will want to ask about whether they have handled this type of case before and what the outcome was. Less-experienced lawyers will come at a lower cost. Lawyers with the best and most experience will come at a higher cost.

4.Fee Structure

You want to be clear on how you will be charged for their services. If it is a small legal matter, you likely need not use the services of a high-powered litigator. Smaller matters may be better handled by a lower-priced attorney. Some attorneys offer a flat fee structure while others will bill by the hour. Besides the work on your case, time spent corresponding about your case (such as phone calls and emails) are often also billed. Lawyers who bill a flat fee may charge for additional costs such as the cost to file court documents. It is important to get clarity on these matters before proceeding. Small costs can add up.

Conclusion

As you can see, choosing the best types of lawyers for your needs can be simple. Use online resources to get all the best, up-to-date information on types of lawyers near you. Don’t get lost in the shuffle with a high-powered attorney who doesn’t have time for your case when you need a personalized, hands-on approach. The right types of lawyers out there will see you and your case as important—not as just another case number on the docket.