The process of estate planning may seem overwhelming to many families. They may know that a thorough estate plan is important, and be aware that there are a number of different important considerations and documents that may be included in the process, but may not always know what each estate planning tool refers to. One estate planning tool you may have heard of but wondered about and wanted to know more about is a power of attorney.
Despite its numerous and significant benefits, many people fail to make an estate plan until it is too late. An estate plan is not simply for the extraordinarily wealthy. In fact, there are many different aspects of an estate plan that are very important for nearly every individual, regardless of wealth. One of these elements is power of attorney. Designating a power of attorney can be useful in many different situations, but many people still fail to take advantage of this important legal tool.
While residents of Michigan might have a baseline understanding of what a power of attorney is, there still can be a degree of confusion. It can be helpful to have a clear understanding of power of attorney in order to make informed decisions should a situation call for it and to avoid any abuse of power that can unfortunately occur.
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.
One of the main reasons that many people put off long-term planning is that they do not like to think about going through a time--whether temporary or permanent--when they are no longer able to make their own decisions and live according to those decisions. There are likely many aspects of your life that you prefer to control instead of relinquishing that power to other. Some key areas include our personal lives, financial matters, and medical care.
There are so many facets to long-term care planning that many people fail to discuss it or investigate the options. This is a mistake, though, because long term planning is one of the best ways of protecting assets and ensuring that your wishes are carried out when you are no longer able to articulate them or make them known. Many people think that long term planning is unnecessary but the reality is that the majority of people will need some form of care, whether temporary or permanent, at some point in their lives. Furthermore, long-term care planning is not solely related to medical needs or designating powers of attorney in the case of incapacity.
Estate planning can be difficult. It requires people to plan for events to take place after their death or for when they are no longer able to manage their own affairs the way they were accustomed to previously. Planning for these circumstances is very important, however, especially if people want to maintain their independence as long as possible and direct the way their affairs will be managed when they are no longer able to personally manage them. A power of attorney is a very useful tool to achieve these goals, but it is important to make a wise choice to avoid exploitation or other problems, as the story of one Michigan women recently revealed.
Powers of attorney are intended to provide a legal way for Michigan residents to manage their own affairs and make their own decisions even when they are physically or mentally unable to take action or convey their wishes. One very important type of power of attorney is a medical power of attorney. This kind of power of attorney relates to certain "life-or-death" medical decisions and end-of-life care. Since a power of attorney is a legal document, it is binding if it is created correctly. It is important for people think and plan carefully regarding who they choose as their agent and to discuss their wishes with that person.
Although most Michigan residents probably do not want to think about worst-case scenarios where they will have to rely on the care or decision-making capacity of someone else, it is still very important to plan for this potential occurrence before the need arises. Creating a power of attorney when in sound mind and good health can give people the ability to protect themselves and retain control over the lives, healthcare or finances even when they may be physically unable to exercise it themselves in the future.
Although it is often difficult to think about, it important to think about planning for times when it might be impossible for a person to make decisions for himself or herself. These important decisions might relate to financial matters, personal lives and possessions or medical care. Conflicts between family members over how these decisions will be made can often arise, even though it might be the last thing that a person would want. Creating a health care power of attorney before such a situation arises can help prevent a range of problems and ensure that a person's wishes are carried out, at least with regard to medical care.