Should I Hire an Attorney for My Legal Issue?

Filed Under (Business, Colorado Deeds, Divorce and Legal Separation, Eviction, Leases and Landlord Tenant, Mechanics Liens, Power of Attorney, Probate, Real Estate, Small Claims, Starting a Business, Wills and Estates) on 23-05-2013

The decision to hire an attorney depends upon assessing the situation — and then being honest with yourself about your ability to handle the matter on your own.

First, always consult an attorney for:

•    Criminal charges
•    If you are sued
•    Bankruptcy
•    Employment issues (whether you are a business or an employee)
•    Personal injuries
•    Entering a franchise agreement
•    Selling a business, or bringing new owners into a business.

Individuals may effectively handle family law matters, business transactions, estate planning, and tax issues. However, one has to consider the costs of time and expertise when deciding to act without an attorney.

Advantages of handling a legal issue yourself:
•    There are Court-approved forms and books to help you.
•    You can move quickly, not waiting for an attorney to get to your matter.
•    You save money by not hiring an attorney.

Disadvantages of handling a legal issue yourself: Continue reading “Should I Hire an Attorney for My Legal Issue?” »

Understanding Colorado Medical Powers of Attorney

Filed Under (Power of Attorney) on 17-05-2012

What is a medical power of attorney?

A medical power of attorney, also known as a health care power of attorney, is a document that allows someone to make medical decisions for another person. The law usually allows only the patient to agree to medical treatment or refuse medical treatment unless there is a life-threatening emergency. However, the patient may be too ill to understand what is happening, or to be able to communicate what he or she wants. If the patient had signed a medical power of attorney when he or she was able to competently make decisions, the person named as agent in the power could decide what sort of medical treatment should be given to the patient.

Does a general power of attorney include medical issues?

It is now common to have two different documents—one that names someone to make health care decisions and another that names someone to make legal and financial decisions. This is often a good idea when the person assigned the health care decisions is different from the person assigned the other decisions.

Health care powers are sometimes included in the more general power of attorney, combining the two documents. In that case, a separate medical power of attorney document is not only unnecessary, it may confuse things. There might be questions as to which document should be followed.

How does a medical power of attorney differ from a living will?

A living will is a set of instructions about what to do if the patient is terminally ill. A medical power of attorney discusses who should make decisions, not necessarily what decisions should be made. Also, a medical power of attorney is generally not limited to the time when the patient is terminal.

Will a medical power of attorney affect my living will?

The only way a medical power of attorney will change the effect of a living will is if either document specifies that one of the documents should be considered as more important than the other.

For more information about this topic, see “Planning Ahead: Living Wills and Other Advance Directives.”

No Time Like the Present

Filed Under (Domestic Partnership, Power of Attorney) on 12-04-2012

What if you’re in an unmarried, committed relationship and your partner is in an accident? Not a fun scenario to think about, but what is more unpleasant is when the doctors prevent you from seeing your partner in the hospital. In Colorado there is a way to make sure you and your partner have some of the rights that you would have if you were legally married. Colorado’s Designated Beneficiary Agreement allows same-sex couples and heterosexual couples who are not married to give their partners 16 specific rights.

What rights are granted by a Designated Beneficiary Agreement?

These are the specific rights listed in the Agreement. You may, but you don’t need to grant all 16 rights. Instead, you can pick and choose which rights you want your partner to have.

1.    The right to acquire, hold title to, own jointly, or transfer inter vivos or at death real or personal property as a joint tenant with me with right of survivorship or as a tenant in common with me;
2.    The right to be designated by me as a beneficiary, payee, or owner as a trustee named in an inter vivos or testamentary trust for the purposes of a non-probate transfer on death;
3.    The right to be designated by me as a beneficiary and recognized as a dependent in an insurance policy for life insurance;
4.    The right to be designated by me as a beneficiary and recognized as a dependent in a health insurance policy if my employer elects to provide health insurance coverage for designated beneficiaries;
5.    The right to be designated by me as a beneficiary in a retirement or pension plan; Continue reading “No Time Like the Present” »

Who Do You Trust?

Filed Under (Power of Attorney) on 01-03-2012

Powers of attorney can be very useful, but they can also be very risky if you don’t understand the rights of control that you are transferring. The person you assign to control your assets can easily misuse that power—he or she could rob you blind and be gone before you or anybody else finds out.  Someone you name in your medical power of attorney can make life-and death decisions about your health care. Choosing the right person to act on your behalf is a serious decision and should not be taken lightly.

Who can sign a power of attorney?

Any adult who is mentally competent can sign a power of attorney. A person is mentally competent if he understands what property he controls, what powers over property he is giving to someone else, and who will exercise those powers after the power of attorney is signed. The person who signs a power of attorney is called the principal. The person who is being assigned the power to act for the principal is called the agent. Continue reading “Who Do You Trust?” »

Powers of Attorney 101

Filed Under (Power of Attorney) on 08-12-2011

At Bradford Publishing, customers often ask us for general power of attorney forms when they really need durable power of attorney forms, or vice versa. Because powers of attorney can be confusing, we want to spell out a few perplexing terms and concepts.

What is a “durable” power of attorney?

Under traditional law, the power granted in a power of attorney ends when the principal is no longer able to act on his own. In other words, if the principal becomes incapacitated or incompetent, the power of attorney document is no longer effective. However, some people use a power of attorney to plan for the possibility of a disability. Therefore, the power of attorney has to specify that it will be effective even when the principal is disabled. When a power of attorney specifies that, the power of attorney is “durable”. In power of attorney forms that Bradford Publishing provides, the powers of attorney are durable unless the principal strikes out the statement that says: “This Power of Attorney shall not be affected by disability of the principal.” Continue reading “Powers of Attorney 101” »

Flying South for the Winter?

Filed Under (Power of Attorney) on 17-11-2011

A power of attorney is a legal document that allows a person to designate someone else to act on his or her behalf. These types of documents can be important if you’re out town or otherwise unavailable to take care of your affairs.

There are lots of circumstances that could call for a power of attorney. For instance, you might need someone to pay your bills while you are out of the country, so you designate your nephew as the person in charge through a power of attorney. Or, if you’re going on vacation and leaving the kids with grandma, you may want to appoint her their guardian through a power of attorney.

In legal terms, power of attorney allows you to give away rights of control. Further, you can give away very specific rights, while retaining other rights. Continue reading “Flying South for the Winter?” »