Case Evaluation

Fill out the form below to get in touch with one of our attorneys.

Send
View Our Blog
Meet Your Attorney
Lee Ciccarelli

Lee Ciccarelli

Lee Ciccarelli is the founder and managing partner of Ciccarelli Law Offices with over two decades experience as a practicing attorney.

Ryan Buchanan

Ryan Buchanan

Working in many areas of law Ryan focused his efforts on family law. He prides himself on holding himself to a high standard of ethics and morals.

Michael E. Houghton

Michael E. Houghton

Bringing many years of experience and knowledge representing our clients in domestic violence and protection from abuse matters.

Albert Iacocca

Albert Iacocca

Albert M. Iacocca is an attorney with extensive knowledge of complex legal matters and has more then 10 years experience.

Office Locations
Primary Location
A
304 North High Street West Chester, PA 19380
Map It
Secondary Locations

These locations are available by appointment only

B
1515 Market St., #200 Philadelphia, PA 19102
Map It
C
135 East State St. Kennett Square, PA 19380
Map It
D
600 West Germantown Pike Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462
Map It
E
1489 Baltimore Pike Ste 221 Springfield, PA 19064
Map It
G
101 Lindenwood Dr, Ste 225 Malvern, PA 19355
Map It
H
150 N. Radnor Chester Rd Ste. F200, Radnor, PA 19087
Map It
I
313 West Liberty St., Ste 341 Lancaster, PA 17603
Map It

Power of Attorney

Powers of Attorney allow people to designate specific people to act on their behalves in handling financial, medical, or legal decisions. The person who grants the authority is called a principal, and the person who is given permission to act for the principal is called an agent or an attorney-in-fact.

Whereas a will merely indicates what you want to happen when you die, a power of attorney gives the person you designate control over your wishes and your possessions while you are still alive. There are several different types of these legal documents, and you will want to have legal representation to ensure that the agent you choose is not given too much or too little power.

West Chester Lawyer for Power of Attorney

If you need assistance drafting a power of attorney, it is wise to work with a skilled Pennsylvania family law attorney. Ciccarelli Law Offices helps clients with estate planning matters in Chester County as well as surrounding areas of Montgomery County, Delaware County, Lancaster County, and Philadelphia County.

Our firm will answer all of your questions, address all of your concerns, and make sure that your wishes are accurately reflected in your final document. Call (877) 529-2422 right now to take advantage of a free consultation that will let us review your case.


Chester County Power of Attorney Overview


Back to top

Types of Power of Attorney in Pennsylvania

The different types of this estate planning document include:

  • Durable Powers of Attorney — These documents take effect as soon as principals sign them and they end with their deaths. Durable powers of attorney can frequently combine health care powers of attorney and living wills, allowing agents to make decisions regarding medical care and end-of-life decisions in the event that principals become incapacitated. 
  • General Powers of Attorney — These documents give agents the authority to do anything the principal would do, but the power of the document ends if the principal dies or becomes incapacitated.
  • Limited Powers of Attorney — These documents allow agents to act on behalf of principals only in specific situations, typically with a beginning and ending time specified within the document.
  • Springing Powers of Attorney — These documents go into effect only if the principal becomes incapacitated.

Back to top

Duties of Agent in Chester County Power of Attorney

Unless a provision in the document indicates otherwise, Pennsylvania Consolidated Statute Title 20 Chapter 56 § 5601.3 states that an agent who accepts an appointment as attorney-in-fact shall:

  • Act in accordance with the principal's reasonable expectations to the extent actually known by the agent and, otherwise, in the principal's best interest
  • Act in good faith
  • Act only within the scope of authority granted in the power of attorney
  • Act loyally for the principal's benefit
  • Keep the agent's funds separate from the principal's funds unless the funds were not kept separate as of the date of the execution of the power of attorney or the principal commingles the funds after the date of the execution of the power of attorney and the agent is the principal's spouse
  • Act so as not to create a conflict of interest that impairs the agent's ability to act impartially in the principal's best interest
  • Act with the care, competence and diligence ordinarily exercised by agents in similar circumstances
  • Keep a record of all receipts, disbursements and transactions made on behalf of the principal
  • Cooperate with a person who has authority to make health care decisions for the principal to carry out the principal's reasonable expectations to the extent actually known by the agent and, otherwise, act in the principal's best interest
  • Attempt to preserve the principal's estate plan, to the extent actually known by the agent, if preserving the plan is consistent with the principal's best interest based on all relevant factors, including:
    • The value and nature of the principal's property.
    • The principal's foreseeable obligations and need for maintenance.
    • Minimization of taxes, including income, estate, inheritance, generation-skipping transfer and gift taxes.
    • Eligibility for a benefit, program or assistance under a statute or regulation.

Back to top

Authority Granted in Pennsylvania Power of Attorney

Pennsylvania Consolidated Statute Title 20 Chapter 56 § 5602 states that a principal can empower an agent to do any or all of the following:

  • Make limited gifts
  • Create a trust for principal’s benefit
  • Make additions to an existing trust for principal’s benefit
  • Claim an elective share of the estate of principal’s deceased spouse
  • Renounce fiduciary positions
  • Withdraw and receive the income or corpus of a trust
  • Authorize principal’s admission to a medical, nursing, residential or similar facility and to enter into agreements for my care
  • Authorize medical and surgical procedures
  • Engage in real property transactions
  • Engage in tangible personal property transactions
  • Engage in stock, bond and other securities transactions
  • Engage in commodity and option transactions
  • Engage in banking and financial transactions
  • Borrow money
  • Enter safe deposit boxes
  • Engage in insurance and annuity transactions
  • Engage in retirement plan transactions
  • Handle interests in estates and trusts
  • Pursue claims and litigation
  • Receive government benefits
  • Pursue tax matters
  • Make an anatomical gift of all or part of principal’s body

It is important to note that Pennsylvania Consolidated Statute Title 20 Chapter 56 § 5601.4 outlines some authorizations that require specific and general grants of authority. These include the abilities to:

  • Create, amend, revoke or terminate an inter vivos trust other than as permitted above
  • Make a gift
  • Create or change rights of survivorship
  • Create or change a beneficiary designation
  • Delegate authority granted under the power of attorney
  • Waive the principal's right to be a beneficiary of a joint and survivor annuity, including a survivor benefit under a retirement plan
  • Exercise fiduciary powers that the principal has authority to delegate
  • Disclaim property, including a power of appointment

Back to top

Differences Between Power of Attorney and Guardianship in Chester County

Powers of attorney are different from guardianships in several ways, including:

Power of Attorney

Guardianship

Lower costs

Higher costs

Limited authority

Broader authority

Principal chooses agent

Court chooses guardian

Principal must be cognizant and mentally competent

Ward needs to be incapacitated

Agent can be personally liable for not acting in accordance with wishes of principal

Guardian only risks liability if he or she commits illegal acts

Principal can revoke agreement

Court must terminate guardianship


Back to top

Find A Power of Attorney Lawyer in West Chester

Make sure that all of your estate planning concerns are addressed by having an experienced Pennsylvania family law attorney help you properly create and file your legal documents. Ciccarelli Law Offices can determine the best ways for you to protect your assets and have your wishes carried out in the event that you ever become incapacitated.

Our firm serves all of Chester County, including West Goshen, Kennett Square, Phoenixville, Downingtown, West Caln, Easttown, West Chester, and Coatesville. We can review your case and discuss your options during a free consultation when you call (877) 529-2422 today.