Estate planning can be intimidating for many people because of its perceived complexity. Many people may also be confused about what “estate planning” really refers to because of the word “estate”: they may think that it is something that only applies to those with considerable wealth or assets. Estate planning is for everyone, however, and has many different facets. One commonly overlooked, but very useful, component of estate planning is the power of attorney.
If you are like the majority of people, you want to be in control-especially of your own life and what happens to you. During the greater part of your life, you are likely able to exercise the control you desire in most situations. As you age, however, and begin to experience health problems and possible mental decline, it is important to plan ahead and designate personal representatives to make decisions for you when you are unable. The legal vehicles that enable you to designate these representatives are called durable powers of attorney.
There are many different types of powers of attorney, and we can help you determine which ones are right for you. Some powers of attorney relate to healthcare and provide you with a patient advocate who knows your wishes and is prepared to give them effect. Other types of powers of attorney may relate to financial matters, general administrative issues, or a very specific narrow purpose. Creating a power of attorney does not eliminate your control over your life. In fact, it does just the opposite by giving you the power to choose who will act for you and to decide when the representative’s power comes into effect. Without a power of attorney, decision-making responsibilities may fall to your next of kin if you become incapacitated. While you may love your kin and they you, they may not be as able or willing to carry out your wishes as someone else specifically chosen by you.
If you have questions about powers of attorney, we are here to help. We can explain the different types, describe what duties a representative with power of attorney holds, and even advise you in choosing and instructing the representative. By working with us to create the powers of attorney necessary for your life, you can feel confident in knowing that you have covered all the bases and have a well thought-out and legally solid plan. Please visit our webpage for more information.