Five Common Misconceptions About Powers of Attorney

A Power of Attorney is a binding legal document, one that effectively allows someone you nominate to make certain kinds of decision and act on your behalf. Powers of Attorney are usually used if you either become unable to work for yourself, or you do not wish to act for yourself.

There are many reasons why you might choose to make one, including being out of the country or hospitalised for an extended period and you need someone to mind your assets while you are away; or to protect yourself and your assets should you lose mental capacity.

However, a lot of us put this job off due to, among other things, certain misconceptions.

This article aims to debunk some of the most commonly held misconceptions regarding a Power of Attorney.

Misconception One: Attorneys, once nominated, cannot do whatever they like

This is one of the main fears people have about giving someone else control over their assets. However, it is entirely unfounded as attorneys are heavily restricted in what they can and cannot do.

There are various checks and balances in place to make sure an attorney does not abuse their position, including a set of rules regarding getting the power registered so it can be used at all.

The first set of restrictions come from you. When creating a power, specifically a lasting power, there is an opportunity for you to put as many or as little restrictions on your attorneys. For example, if you are setting up a financial lasting power, to allow our relatives to look after your finances should you lose capacity, then you can state clearly on the paperwork that while your attorneys can do X, Y & Z they cannot sell your home, or they must all decide together before spending an amount over £X.

The second set of restrictions comes from the Office of the Public Guardian which lay down clear rules for how an attorney must behave, including preventing them acting outside the power given in the power and making sure they always act in the donor’s best interest.

Misconception Two: You must use the Power of Attorney the moment it is made, or You cannot make a Power of Attorney until you know you will need it soon.

A lot of us put this job off as we are not in the position where we need it now or (to our knowledge) in the imminent future.

Unfortunately, life doesn’t always give you warnings and powers of attorney are not just for the elderly who may have concerns about dementia. Anything can happen that could cause you to need an attorney immediately, including a sudden and unexpected hospital admittance, an unplanned trip out of the country, or, tragically, an accident which causes you to lose capacity.

It is wise to create a power long before it is needed, especially a lasting power of Attorney (expressly designed for a loss of capacity).

It is entirely possible to write and sign a lasting power but keep hold of it until you need it or want to use it. This is because for a Lasting power to be used it must be registered until it is registered it is just a piece of paper with no power or purpose, and it can sit in a drawer until needed.

You could easily create and sign a Lasting power when you are in your 30’s and not register it until you need it in your 70’s.

Misconception Three: You can wait until someone loses capacity before making a Lasting Power of Attorney

This ties in with the above misconception and is completely wrong. Making this mistake can cost you and your loved one’s thousands of pounds.

To make a lasting power or a general power the person making it must have capacity. There is no way around this. If you lose capacity, you cannot make a Power of Attorney and your loved ones must apply for what is called a Guardianship of you and your assets, which costs over a thousand pounds and takes several months to sort out.

Considering that you could put together a power yourself for free or use a solicitor for £200 (depending on the firm, shop around) it should be a no brainer that this is the superior document.

It is also worth noting that if you make a general power and then lose capacity your general power loses all its power. If you had made a lasting power when you had capacity then subsequently lose capacity your attorneys can register the Lasting Power of Attorney with the Office of the Public Guardian immediately and start helping you with your finances and care.

Misconception Four: A Power of Attorney is for Life

This simply is not true.

There are different types of Power of Attorney, Lasting and General. Lasting powers (you might have guessed from the name) are usually long term. However, a general power is not.

A general power is a document that you can set up to allow someone to look after an affair of yours while you are not able to, if, for example, you are out of the country, hospitalised for a few months or unable to leave the house for a while. A general power gives someone else authority to act on your behalf for a particular reason, to perform a specific task or for a specific length of time. As soon as you become able to manage your affairs again, you can destroy the general power.

Misconception Five: You can only have one attorney

The role of attorney is challenging at times, and there is a lot of responsibility.

So rather than put all of that responsibility onto one individual you can spread that about by having more than one attorney. This second person is called a joint attorney.

You can appoint any number of attorneys in the same power, and you can specify if they can act on their own separately or if they must cooperate and come together to decide. You can have them act jointly on some issues such as sale of property but have them work singly on all other matters there is a lot of flexibility, and it is entirely up to you.

Conclusion

In conclusion, there is a lot to consider when making a Power of Attorney, but it is not a decision that should be put off.

Six Signs You Have A Good Lawyer!

There are thousands of lawyers in California who seem to have a similar education, licensing and specialization and yet the experience that different clients have with their attorneys are so different from one another.

So, how do you know that your attorney is the one who will provide you with quality legal representation:

1. Your attorney is not overconfident in the outcome of your case. No matter how experienced and seasoned the lawyer is, he cannot and should never be sure of the outcome of your case. There are so many facts and circumstances that might come into play as the case develops and the nature of our legal system is such that there is simply no way to know for sure whether you will win or lose and if you win – how much exactly you will recover from the other side.

A responsible legal professional will assure you that he will do the best he can to represent you as aggressively as possible but he will not make any promises as to how much you will recover and how long exactly the process will take.

2. A good attorney should not act like a pushy salesman. He shouldn’t shove papers underneath your hand for your signature telling you that “it’s OK and you have nothing to worry about.” Instead, he should explain to you in plain and understandable terms what you are signing, why it is necessary and what the consequences of your executing that document are. For instance, a good attorney will go over your services contract with him, paragraph by paragraph, making sure that you understand what the scope and the limitations of the legal services you will be provided with.

A good attorney will also advise you that you are free to terminate your agreement at any time and seek alternate counsel and hire a different attorney of your choice at any time.

A good attorney is patient with his clients and makes sure that you have a general understanding of the process, and he doesn’t make you feel unwelcome or like you are wasting his time.

3. A good lawyer is capable of keeping in touch with you in a way that makes you feel that your case gets the attention it requires. An attorney has a duty to communicate with his client on a consistent basis. One of the most common complaints reported to the California State Bar by clients is that attorney fail to communicate and return phone calls / e-mails and letters from their clients. Being ignored is a frustrating experience in any setting – professionally, socially and especially when it comes to dealing with a lawyer. Litigation process is stressful enough and raises many questions or concerns in a client as the case develops that need to be addressed promptly. A good attorney is not “too busy” to return your calls and he keeps you informed of the developments of your case.

4. A good attorney will advise you not only how to prosecute your case but whether or not it is worth your time, money, energy and emotions to actually go after it. Not every fight is worth fighting and sometimes it is a better idea to walk away for your own benefit even if the other side gets away and isn’t held liable. An honest attorney will not make you fight a case just to charge you an hourly fee. He truly does work in the best interests of his clients by not only pursuing their legal rights but also advising them whether or not it’s prudent to pursue a case altogether.

5. A good lawyer is not too busy to handle your case. A competent lawyer will not take on more work than he can handle in a quality manner. A good attorney will not sacrifice the quality of his services for the sheer volume of the business because he realizes that his reputation and concern for his existing clients’ cases is his priority.

6. Lastly, your attorney doesn’t come across as a “typical” lawyer. A great attorney defies the stereotypes that are commonly associated with the legal profession – arrogance, greed and flamboyance, and substance abuse. He is friendly, personable and charismatic and you actually enjoy working with him/her.

Know About Attorney in DUI Cases

DUI prosecutions are motivated by issues that are not based upon constitutional fairness or equity. Like all attorneys, they are bound by ethical duties and a high standard of “fair dealing” with all litigants in our adversarial legal process. Often, the heat of battle causes these officials to become both political and competitive. When this occurs, justice does routinely suffer at the hands of a prosecutor’s vanity or ego, or outright criminal misconduct.

Lawyers must periodically stand for election. Many are first appointed to their posts by the governor of their respective state to act as the county or state attorney given the responsibility for accusing and prosecuting crimes within their jurisdiction. When it is time for re-election rolls around, an opponent seeking to replace the prosecutor may investigate the actions of the incumbent in dismissing cases, reducing cases or noteworthy cases at trial. A high profile trial can end the tenure of a successful and diligent state or county attorney. Los Angeles County, California is probably the best known place for this to occur in the United States. Hence, the pressure to “win” will always loom over the lawyer’s office. Case dispositions are public records, for mostly all criminal cases. Combing the prior files for unusual or inexplicable outcomes favoring persons charged with DWI can be a large part of an opponent’s political attack on the current office-holder. This political tension, coupled with attorneys’ inbred desire to “win”, creates a rocky slope for defense attorneys to negotiate as the case goes to trial. In the late 20th century and in the current century, numerous states have passed legislation that intends to create a crime for prosecutors within the state to reduce or dismiss a DUI-DWI charge. Kentucky and Oregon have such statutes, and many cases are needlessly tried due to the legislative edict that threatens any prosecutor who negotiates a marginal case with becoming a criminal defendant from doing so. Such legislative overreaching is an improper misuse of the legislative process, and a constitutionally a questionable practice. To say that every DUI-DWI case made by the officers of these states is a good, solid case is ludicrous and yet such laws are politically expedient.

Like other jobs, relationships are built and experienced DUI lawyers can approach an ethical and principled district attorney or state’s attorney with a proposal for a reduced charges or dismissal of charges in a pending DUI case. Knowledgeable attorneys in the drunken driving defense field will know which prosecutors to trust and which ones not to trust. Being able to find a “winning” defense or a flaw in the prosecution’s case, and then to be able to use that as a negotiating tool to avoid the risk of trial is generally limited to DWI lawyers who work in this field on a daily basis. Some prosecutors would listen to the presentation once and immediately “fix” the problem by amending the accusation or information or possibly by locating an essential witness whose name was not known prior to the conversation with defense counsel. They know no loyalty and will not have moral compass. They want to win more than they care about fairness, much less their tarnished reputations in the future. Criminal defense lawyers who handle criminal law matters every day quickly learn who these people are, and never trust them with any pre-trial “disclosures”. Other prosecutors are highly honorable people who will “do the right thing” when confronted with a loser of a case, based on some latent flaw or defect in the case.

Traffic Violations, Auto Insurance, and Your Rates

Auto Insurance is expensive enough. You do not need a traffic ticket to make your premiums go up even higher. That is why it is important to drive carefully, courteously and within the legal speed limits. This way, you will give no reason for a police officer to pull you over and hand you a summons in regard to irresponsible driving patterns.

You may wonder. The ticket itself involves a fine. Why would you be penalized any further by your insurance company?

To be honest, your insurance company is not interested in punishing you. They are solely out for their own interests. When they see you have been convicted for a moving violation, they view that as a peril to their operations. Traffic violations demonstrate to the insurance company that you are at more risk of being a part of a car accident or collision than someone that has a clean driving record. A car accident, in insurance terms, means there will likely be a claim that they will cost them money. The insurance company balances the risk of an auto accident claim with a raised premium or added charge.

Of course each company gauges its response to a poor driving record individually. By and large though, they have a team that looks at the general behavior you have exhibited when you are behind the driving wheel.

And when deciding the amount of the rate increase, the insurance company will consider the severity of the traffic violation.

So, if you are committed of drunk driving, you will find yourself up against an extremely strict reaction in regard to a rate increase. If you have merely been ticketed for a broken headlight, judgement meted out against you will be mild. And if you have been found to be speeding 15 miles above the city limits, you will get a higher increase than if you would have been speeding only five miles beyond the posted mileage.

People often ask about parking tickets. For the most part, the motorist who receives a parking ticket need only worry about paying that ticket. The insurance company will not raise your rates if they see that you are responsible about your bill and they do not view a parking summons as a concern in regard to your likelihood of being involved in a car crash.

The line of thought goes far beyond a car. Whether you drive a truck, van, motorcycle or other type of vehicle, your rates can go up if you have been convicted of a moving or speeding violation.

For more on the topic, speak to an experienced independent insurance agent.

What The Best Car Insurance Company Can Give

There are probably more than ten companies running their businesses in every state of the country. Of course you can check for car insurance ratings online or simply work with an independent agent to guide you through the entire process from choosing a company to purchasing the coverage.

The biggest problem is that the best car insurance for someone is not always as good for you too. Everyone has personal preferences so determining which company is best entirely depends on your own circumstances. Nonetheless, there are some noticeable features of any good company as listed below; you can use these features to help you tell the good from the bad.

1. No Overcharge

Car insurance companies use your personal data, such as driving record or points, as an important variable in determining your rates. Since everyone basically has different records, the insurance rates can be different accordingly, even for the exact same policies. Traffic law violation including DUI, speeding, or car crash are properly documented by the DMV. Every incident probably stays in your record for up to three or five years. When the points are reduced or completely erased due to proper driving this year, insurance company should charge you less. The best car insurance company rewards good driving record by charging you better rates.

Besides driving records, insurers also use other variables such as marital status, location, and age to estimate your premium fee. A good auto insurance company is one that puts everything into account and uses all the necessary variables to determine the proper price for you depending on the circumstances. The correct calculation helps to avoid any possible overcharge. Another easy example is installments fee. Paying by installments is a good idea to avoid spending a lot of money at a time. However, over the course of an insurance policy, the installments may cost additional charge. In total, you have to pay more than you really need to. If you are looking for an insurance company that offers installments method, please choose one that does not require you to pay more.

2. Good Customer Service

Apart from the market that grows to be very competitive in terms of price, one of the most important features of auto insurance is building trust. To maintain good relationship with clients, insurer need good customer service people who work in professional manners. Customer service is the very first department that you call in case you need help either for making claims or asking questions about any relevant issue. People who work in this department must also handle every complaint filed by any client.

Customer service is an indicator to help you properly separate the best car insurance company from the rest. You will not want to rely on a company with a customer service that does not answer your questions immediately, or simply says things you cannot understand, or in worst scenario, the person you call does not seem to care about what you need to say. Fortunately there are some independent research done on behalf of customers to deliver insurers rating based on this particular subject. Some ratings are based on price, discounts, and customer service; simply check for online ratings created by reputable organizations before you decide to purchase policies from any insurer.

3. Quick and Easy Claiming Process

You need your insurance company the most when you want to file a claim. Every insurer will generally say that the company is best, but customers have to be more careful and thoughtful before they can really believe it. Every state usually has an insurance department where you can find every auto insurance company’s complaint ratio. Information about this is provided free of charge, and you will be able to download it easily to your computer. The ratio is built based on the number of complaints for every 1,000 claims by policyholders. The best car insurance company in your state is the one with the lowest ratio.

The complaints can be many things, but they are likely claim-related problems. Ideally, an auto insurance company allows you to file a claim either by phone or online. You need to report specific data about your policy number, date and location of the incident that makes you file the claim, description of how it happens, license plates, names, and more. The company will send representative to explain whether the incident is covered by your coverage, and if it is, the representative will help you to handle all the related issues that come with the incident as far as the coverage allows.

Real Estate Attorney Fees – How Will Your Attorney Charge Fees?

Hiring a property attorney without knowing about the real estate attorney fees system may lead to a big financial mishap. To make a better decision in terms of hiring a lawyer, we must be aware of the fees generating system, as their cost can be substantial. The amount alone can wreck your bank account, if you are not prepared for that. When you have decided to take legal support from a lawyer, you must be eager to solve any property related issues that leave impacts on your finances too. Therefore, are you ready to attract another financial difficulty with little knowledge in lawyer fees, which may make or break your financial condition?

Basic Factors Working Behind High Attorney Fees

You must have a clear cut communication and negotiation with your real estate attorney regarding his/her fees before signing a legal agreement. So how much do you expect and have kept aside from your expenses to pay for attorney fees? Many of the attorneys possessing high repute in their field of operation may charge higher fees than their counterparts.

However, real estate attorneys take account of multitude of conditions and factors to decide on their fees. Following factors are usually considered by them –

1. How complicated is the case?

2. Span of time that the legal representative is likely to spend for resolving or settling the disputes, including time required for researching, interviewing all the witnesses, gathering facts, preparation of the documents etc.

3. Emerging of newer and sudden developments during the trial period may extend the case longer and this may extend the number of digits in the lawyer payments.

Different Categories In Attorney Fees

A client can be charged with attorney fees for the first meeting. Following amount charged for first meeting, your legal representative may charge you a fixed rate price or on the hourly basis or retaining, statutory or contingency fee. A lawyer may charge you more money for the time spent in the trial period in the courtroom than the time spent in the research and other jobs pertaining to your case that he performed while sitting in offices or libraries. You may as well agree to pay either anyone of these two or a combination of these two. Discuss about the cost, along with your case, when you find a legal representative. Online real estate lawyer databases listing top notch lawyers in the country include their payments system and amount, if fixed. Investing a little time in browsing these directories and databases will be worth the trouble because it will help you save your pocket.

Free Money Saving Auto Insurance Tips

Our money saving auto insurance tips were written for one reason – To Save You Money on your next auto insurance policy. Since in most states you are required by law to purchase a minimum amount of liability coverage we’ve looked for ways to save you money. Additionally many people want more than just the bare minimum in order to provide themselves with adequate protection.

The top two biggest money saving auto insurance tips are to first shop around. There are numerous providers of insurance and generally speaking you can save a great deal of money on your policy if you take the time to find the right provider.

The second biggest tip to lower your rates is to simply raise your deductable. In some cases you can reduce your annual premium by 10 percent or more if you increase your deductible by a few hundred dollars. USE CAUTION HERE: You want to make sure you can actually afford the amount that you raise your deductible to or you’re no better off then before.

Additional tips include eliminating certain types of coverage from your current policy and reducing the amount of coverage you currently have. Generally this is up to each individual based on their needs, wants and desires. You may want to consult an insurance agent before making any drastic changes to your current policy.

Other factors raising the cost of your policy include the amount of mileage you drive annually and the type of vehicle you own and operate.

Did you also know that where you live can determine rates and keeping your car in a garage can lower your rates. Cars parked in garages are less likely to be stolen, vandalized, or struck by other vehicles. Using a garage to store your car may entitle you to a slight premium reduction.

If you have multiple cars and drivers then you could qualify for a multifamily discount. Sometimes your children’s insurance premium can be lowered based on their school grade point average.

Other discounts may be available if you meet certain criteria. Examples may include discounts for taking a defensive driving course, being a AAA member or staying with the same auto insurance company for a number of years. These discounts vary by company.

Finally try using an anti-theft device. This helps to reduce your insurance cost.

Thanks for taking the time to read our money saving auto insurance tips. We hope our free tips and save you some of your hard earned cash.

Auto Insurance Rates: Do They Rise As We Age?

The auto insurance industry realizes that the senior population has a lot of driving experience under its belt. That does go a long way as far as safety is concerned, and, seniors are rewarded in good measure with low premiums on their policies. But, by the same token, no one can deny the fact that as the years go by, eyesight becomes weaker and people are not as quick to react as before. In addition, compromised health situations tend to develop, necessitating medication.

Studies indicate that all this can translate into car accidents – a significantly large amount of these involve tragic fatalities. The insurance companies know about the resulting damages, injuries and death because of related claims that are submitted by policyholders. And claims are an expensive drawback that triggers rates to go up.

Before you begin to panic, allow us to reassure you that the premium hike for seniors at a certain stage is rather slight and it can be countered by savings rewarded to those who attend approved safety driving classes, as well as discounts that many insurance carriers offer.

For clarity, please view the following synopsis of the varying insurance developments in the course of the senior’s driving life.

• If you are in the fifties, you will essentially enjoy lower premiums than those older and younger than you. This is because you typically are still in good health and you still have quick reflex reactions.

• From sixty years of age to sixty-five, you still will be getting the less expensive auto insurance premiums – something that may shift afterwards.

• If you are in the 65-69 year old category, you might see your auto policy increase in rate. In this case, it is in your interest to seek an insurance agency that has the ability to shop the network to see if you can get a cheaper policy.

• Between the ages of seventy and seventy-nine you will generally see an increase in premiums. This is related to a higher risk of an accident. It does not mean, however, that you will not find a cheaper plan elsewhere with a company that understands you still may be in good physical shape and are not personally prone to a collision.

• Once you hit eighty, you will be viewed as a high-risk to the auto insurance industry and retroactively be billed higher rates. If you choose to continue driving at this age, speak to an experienced independent agency that has the ability to shop for cheaper premiums and get applicable discounts to lower your premium.

Whatever your situation, remember to take all precautions in driving safely. After all, it’s your well-being and others on the road that is at stake.