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When is it a good time to draft a power of attorney?

There are certain points in time where it is clear that an individual should take certain steps in life. But unlike some things that have defined ages, such as getting a driver's licenses and or when a couple can get married, drafting estate plan is much different. While some documents can come into play no matter what phase of life an individual in Michigan or elsewhere is in, others are more complex and more appropriate later in life or when the health of an individual is in question.

When is it a good time to draft a power of attorney? In order to understand when it might be a good time to draft this document, it is important to understand what purpose it serves. A power of attorney grants a trusted individual the power to act as your agent when it comes to making financial and healthcare decisions. These responsibilities and powers can be as narrow or as broad as you wish and can be specified in the power of attorney.

There are certain events that could trigger an individual to draft a power of attorney. This could occur when an individual becomes ill or is planning on traveling out of the country. In these cases, a power of attorney could be initiated if a person is incapacitated through illness or injury or requires their affairs to be handled while they are out of the country.

A power of attorney can take various forms, and depending on the current details of an individual's life, certain types may be more beneficial than others. A general power of attorney covers a full range of personal or legal responsibilities while a limited power of attorney is restricted to a specific area or decision. A healthcare power of attorney, which is the most well known, gives the agent the duty to make medical decisions on your behalf. Lastly, a durable power of attorney allows for it to remain in effect even if the individual is found incapacitated.

While it can be emotional and unnerving to draft a power of attorney, this step can be very beneficial. Therefore, those considering an estate plan should consider all aspect of the process and how various documents could serve them well, especially if they were to become ill, injured or incapacitated.

Source:, "When Do I Need a Power of Attorney?" Andrea Shoup, Jan. 4, 2017

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