This is a legal form that allows an individual, referred to as the “Principal”, to appoint another person or entity (the “Attorney-in-fact”) to handle their financial affairs.

 

Step 1: Principal’s Name

 

This is the full, legal name of the person granting power of attorney. It’s critical to use your exact legal name to avoid any confusion or legal challenges in the future.

For instance, if your legal name is “John A. Smith”, you should use that name, and not a nickname like “Johnny”.

 

Step 2: Principal’s Address and State

 

This refers to your legal residence address. This information is important to verify your identity and ensure that the document complies with the laws of your particular jurisdiction.

A correct entry would be “1234 Main St, Anytown”.

 

Step 3: Attorney-in-fact’s Name

 

This is the full, legal name of the person you designate to act on your behalf. They will manage your financial affairs based on the powers you grant in this document.

For example, you might choose a trusted family member like “Susan B. Johnson”.

 

Step 4: Attorney-in-fact’s Address and State

 

This refers to the legal residence address of your appointed attorney-in-fact. This information is crucial in case they need to be contacted for any matter related to your affairs.

An accurate entry could be “9876 Elm St, Othertown”.

 

 

Effective Date

 

 

The Effective Date is when the powers granted to the attorney-in-fact will begin. You have two options for this.

 

Step 1: Immediate Effect

 

If you initial this option, the powers you grant to your attorney-in-fact will become effective immediately after you sign the document. This is often chosen if you anticipate being unavailable or want to start sharing financial management immediately.
If you’re planning to be out of the country and want someone to manage your affairs in your absence, or if you want to share financial management with someone else right away, this option would be suitable.

Example: If you are “John A. Smith,” and you initial this option, “Susan B. Johnson” would have the immediate power to act on your behalf.

 

Step 2: Effect Upon Incapacity

 

If you initial this option, the powers you grant to your attorney-in-fact will only become effective when your attending physician determines in writing that you cannot handle your financial affairs.

This option is typically chosen if you want to ensure that your financial affairs will be taken care of if you become incapacitated and unable to handle them yourself.

Example: If “John A. Smith” initials this option, “Susan B. Johnson” would only gain the power to manage John’s affairs if a doctor verifies in writing that John is incapable of doing so himself.

 

Powers Of Attorney-in-fact

 

The “Powers of Attorney-in-Fact” section allows you to specify precisely which financial powers you wish to grant to your attorney-in-fact.

Remember, these decisions should reflect your utmost trust in your appointed person as they will manage crucial aspects of your life. Let’s break it down.

 

Step 1: Banking

 

Initialing this allows your attorney-in-fact to manage your bank accounts, which includes depositing and withdrawing funds and paying for goods and services on your behalf.

If you cannot manage your finances, you want someone trusted to ensure bills get paid and deposits are made correctly.

Example: Suppose you must undergo a lengthy medical treatment and cannot go to the bank or even use online banking. Here, your attorney-in-fact can handle these transactions for you.

 

Step 2: Safe Deposit Box

 

Initialing this option gives your attorney-in-fact access to your safe deposit boxes. They can open the box, remove its contents, and even surrender the box itself.

If you have essential documents or valuables in a safe-deposit box, your attorney-in-fact can access these as needed.

Example: If you have placed a valuable piece of jewelry in a safe deposit box that you want to use for paying off debts, your attorney-in-fact can retrieve it for you.

 

 

Step 3: Lending or Borrowing

 

By initialing this option, your attorney-in-fact can borrow or lend money on your behalf. They can also mortgage your property to secure such loans.

This power can help you manage your debts or loans more effectively.

Example: If you have an outstanding loan that could be refinanced for a lower interest rate, your attorney-in-fact could handle the refinancing process.

 

 

Step 4: Government Benefits

 

Initialing this grants your attorney-in-fact the power to apply for and receive any government benefits, such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, on your behalf.

If you cannot apply for or collect these benefits, this power ensures you don’t miss out on these critical resources.

Example: If you become seriously ill and are eligible for Medicaid to cover your medical expenses, your attorney-in-fact could apply for these benefits on your behalf.

 

 

Step 5: Retirement Plan

 

If you initial this, your attorney-in-fact can manage your retirement plans or IRAs but cannot change the beneficiary of these accounts.

This allows your attorney-in-fact to ensure your retirement investments are properly managed.

Example: If the stock market crashes and you need to adjust your investments, your attorney-in-fact would be able to do this.

 

 

Step 6: Taxes 

 

Initialing this option enables your attorney-in-fact to handle your tax affairs, including filing returns, paying due taxes, and receiving credits or refunds.

Tax filings can be complex, and you might need someone else to handle them.

Example: If you’re traveling during tax season, your attorney-in-fact can file your taxes on time to avoid penalties.

 

 

Step 7: Insurance

 

If you initial this option, your attorney-in-fact can manage your insurance policies, but they can’t cash in or change the beneficiaries of your life insurance policies.

If you ca unable manage your insurance affairs, this power ensures they are still being handled appropriately.

Example: If you’re in the hospital and can’t pay your car insurance bill, your attorney-in-fact could do this for you.

 

Step 8: Real Estate

 

By initialing this option, your attorney-in-fact can handle any matters related to real estate that you own, including buying, selling, or leasing properties.

If you’re incapacitated or unavailable, this ensures your real estate matters are appropriately handled.

Example: If you’ve moved into a nursing home and want to sell your house, your attorney-in-fact can manage this process.

 

 

Step 9: Personal Property

 

Initialing this gives your attorney-in-fact the power to manage and sell your personal property.
 

This power ensures your property is taken care of and can be used to cover your expenses if needed.

Example: If you have a valuable art collection that needs to be sold to cover medical bills, your attorney-in-fact can handle this.

 

 

Step 10: Power to Manage Property

 

If you initial this, your attorney-in-fact can manage, maintain, and repair any of your property, whether real or personal.
 

This helps maintain your property, which can preserve its value.

Example: If your house needs a new roof while you’re out of the country, your attorney could arrange the repairs.

 

 

Step 11: Gifts

 

If you initial this, your attorney-in-fact can make gifts or grants of your property.

If estate tax is a concern, your attorney-in-fact can help manage your estate by making gifts to reduce the size of your taxable estate.

Example: If you regularly give annual gifts to your children for tax purposes, your attorney-in-fact could continue this practice on your behalf.

 

 

Step 12: Legal Advice and Proceedings

 

By initialing this option, your attorney-in-fact can obtain legal advice and initiate or defend legal proceedings on your behalf.

Legal issues can arise unexpectedly, and your attorney-in-fact can handle them.

 

Example: If a tenant sues you for a slip and fall on your property, your attorney-in-fact can hire a lawyer and handle the legal proceedings.

 

 

Step 13: Special Instructions

 

Lastly, the Special Instructions section is where you can specify any limits or extensions to the powers granted to your attorney-in-fact. If you don’t have any special instructions, you can write “None.”

Carefully considering these powers will help ensure your peace of mind, knowing that your affairs will be managed according to your wishes. Discussing these decisions with your attorney-in-fact is essential to ensure they are comfortable with and capable of handling these responsibilities.

 

For example, you might write: “My attorney-in-fact must consult with my financial advisor before making any investments.”

 

Step 14: In Witness Whereof

 

This section signifies the official execution of the South Carolina Durable Power of Attorney by the principal.

The blank spaces provided are for the principal to clearly indicate the exact day, month, and year when the document is being signed. It’s important for validating the currency and relevance of the document.

Example: If signed on February 10, 2023, it would read “this 10th day of February, 20__23__.”

 

Step 15: Principal’s Signature

 

It’s the affirmation by the principal, confirming that the document reflects their true wishes.

A signature legally binds the principal to the stipulations in the document.

 

 

Step 16: Witness’s Signature

 

Witnesses attest to the legitimacy and voluntariness of the signing process.: It serves as verification that the principal executed the document willingly and without coercion.

In cases of legal disputes, witness signatures serve as testimony that the principal was of sound mind and acting on their own accord when signing.

 

Step 17: Address

 

 It provides a point of contact for the witness, which may be necessary if their testimony or verification is needed in the future.

Example: “123 Oak St, Greenville, SC 29607”

 

Notary Public Section

 

The Notary Public acts as an unbiased third-party witness, ensuring that the principal is indeed the person they claim to be.

 

Step 1: State and County

 

This identifies the jurisdiction in which the document is notarized.

Example: “STATE OF South Carolina, Greenville County, ss.”

 

Step 2: Acknowledgment and Verification

 

It’s the Notary’s certification that the principal appeared before them, provided proof of identity, and executed the document willingly.

 

Step 3: Notary Public Signature

 

The official seal of authenticity and verification of the notary.

This is crucial as it makes the document legally recognized in many jurisdictions.

 

Step 4: My commission expires

 

It indicates the end of the Notary Public’s term of service.

This ensures the notarization is valid and done by a currently commissioned Notary Public.

 

 

Step 5: Attorney-in-Fact’s Signature

 

It signifies the consent of the appointed individual to act as the Attorney-in-Fact.

By signing, they are legally recognizing and agreeing to the responsibilities bestowed upon them.

The subsequent section then mirrors the notarization process above for the Attorney-in-Fact, providing the same level of verification and legal sanctity to their acknowledgment and acceptance of the appointment.

 

Conclusion

 

The South Carolina Durable Power of Attorney is a foundational document in estate planning. Its purpose goes beyond mere legal compliance. It serves as an instrument of assurance that one’s affairs are managed as they intend, regardless of circumstances.

Carefully considering each section and completing it with foresight ensures that one’s wishes and directives are upheld in their absence.