Why do I need a power of attorney in Massachusetts
since my spouse and I own all our assets jointly?
A power of attorney is a written instrument by which
one person (the principal) designates someone as his or her agent
or attorney in fact to perform certain acts. If it is "durable,"
it continues in effect even if the principal becomes incompetent.
This can be very important if you or your spouse
becomes incompetent. It can avoid the appointment of a guardian
or conservator for the management of assets. Even if property is
jointly owned, signatures of both parties are often required, such
as in the transfer of real
estate. A power of attorney would allow you to sign for
your spouse. Also, it allows you to be the payee of certain items,
such as Social Security
payments, and it allows you to sign income tax returns on behalf
of your spouse.
For any loved ones contemplating Nursing Home care,
a properly worded Durable Power
of Attorney will preserve valuable civil rights and entitle
an injured resident to monetary damages.