What Is Power of Attorney?

When you make the decision to start planning your estate, there is much more that will go into this process than just creating a will. People don’t realize all of the many different layers of estate planning. By hiring a quality attorney to handle the process, that lawyer will be able to walk you through the details. However, it certainly helps if you already have an idea of what to expect and what the different aspects will entail.

For example, one thing that you will need to do is assign a power of attorney. However, that will be very hard to do if you don’t know what this person is or what they do. There are actually two different types of power of attorney: financial and healthcare.

Financial power of attorney puts decision making power in someone else’s hands when it comes to your finances.
Healthcare power of attorney or healthcare proxy will allow someone else to make your healthcare decisions for you if you are incapacitated.

In either case, what this person is able to do depends solely on you. You have the right to go through all of the different types of decisions they may need to make and determine if you want to give that power to someone else.

When It Works

For the most part, the power of attorney will start the moment you sign the documents with a lawyer. Usually, they are set up to stop working if you are incapacitated, however. This may defeat the purpose, though, so you will need to discuss this with your attorney and find out how to name someone responsible if you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself.

Choosing Power of Attorney

In most cases, you will want to name someone you know and trust to have power of attorney for you. That often means a loved one. However, that doesn’t have to be the case depending on your own situation. You have the right to choose anyone you like. No matter what, you need to make sure that you trust them. Whether you are naming a financial or healthcare power of attorney, this person will have a great deal of power in your life and you will want to make the right choices.

Once you have decided who you would like to have power of attorney, you will need to talk with them first. This is a big responsibility and you certainly don’t want to just spring it on them. So, discuss this with them and ensure they are open to working in this capacity for you. If they are, then you can have the documents drawn up.

There are many parts to estate planning that you may not fully understand. However, knowing more about them will certainly help before you meet with an attorney. It will ensure you aren’t surprised by anything that comes up. You will need to appoint power of attorney, so this is definitely something you should take the time and better understand before you see your attorney for estate planning.

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