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Estate Planning

What is a power of attorney and why do I need one?

A power of attorney is a written document signed and acknowledged by one person (the principal) authorizing another person (the attorney-in-fact or agent) to act on his/her behalf. The law specifically provides that a power of attorney may confer authority upon an agent to conduct banking transactions on behalf of the principal. A power of attorney permits you to appoint someone else to manage your financial affairs at a time when you cannot do so yourself. This document can be a lifesaver in terms of avoiding or alleviating crisis situations, which may arise from an accident or illness. The agent can do whatever the principal may do, such as withdraw bank funds, pay bills, cash checks, trade stocks, and buy and sell real estate.

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What is a health care directive and why should I have one?

New Jersey recognizes the fundamental right of competent adults to make voluntary, informed choices to accept or reject medical or surgical treatment and to choose from among alternative courses of treatment.

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What is guardianship and why do I need it?

Guardianship is a proceeding in which a judge determines if a person is incapacitated and needs the appointment of another (fiduciary) to assist the person in handling his/her personal and financial needs.

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What is conservatorship and why do I need it?

Conservatorship is a proceeding whereby a court determines if a person is unable to manage his or her property or has become unable to provide for him/herself or others dependent upon him/her for support. A Conservatorship only deals with the management of the conservatee’s property and finances. It does not empower the conservator to make any medical or personal decisions for the conservatee.

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