Why do people put off estate planning? Well, there are a number of answers to this question. Some don’t think it is very important. Others are uncomfortable confronting the topic of death and incapacitation. There is also this misguided notion that we have all the time in the world so it never makes it to the top of our “to do list”. The reality is though that estate planning should be undertaken as soon as possible because none of us know what the future holds. Tomorrow is promised to no one. So, it is important to implement critical estate planning tools today. Need more reasons to tackle this to do list item? Well, let’s take a look at one element of an estate plan, the power of attorney, and discuss just why you should put this tool in place.
Why Put a Power of Attorney in Place?
The reasons to put a Power of Attorney in place are as varied as what a Power of Attorney can accomplish. To understand why you should put a Power of Attorney place, it is instructive to consider the different types of Powers of Attorney. Let’s start with the financial Power of Attorney.
A financial Power of Attorney allows you, the principal, to appoint a named individual as your agent, to conduct and manage financial matters on your behalf in specific circumstances. The range of financial matters you grant your agent the power to engage in, can be as broad or specific as you want. With a broad financial Power of Attorney in place, and one that is durable, meaning that it will survive your incapacitation, can be invaluable. Were you to become incapacitated, your agent could step in to manage your affairs in your stead. This can help avoid the need for the appointment of a guardian for you, which requires that someone go to court seeking that guardian be appointed for you. The person appointed by the court has the power to make decisions for you. Guardianship proceedings can be contentious, not to mention costly and time-consuming.
A Healthcare Power of Attorney is also a critical tool. This type of Power of Attorney allows you as the principal to appoint an agent to make healthcare decisions on your behalf should you be incapacitated and unable to make decisions or communicate such decisions for yourself. Considering this scenario, a Healthcare Power of Attorney truly ensures that your medical needs are met. Like the financial Power of Attorney, you are taking control of your health and well-being and ensuring that medical decisions are handled by someone whom you select and you informed of you wishes. Putting these legal tools in place means that you are able to appoint an individual you trust to manage your affairs and make important decisions on your behalf. You are gaining a certain level of control over an uncertain future. This can be huge to manage anxiety and bring peace of mind to those that have these legal tools in place.
Estate Planning Attorney
Posted in: Estate Planning