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Do you need to include a power of attorney in your estate plan?

One of the primary benefits associated with planning for the future is that it provides you with the ability to protect your future interests. You have the right to have the final say over what happens with your property and your money after you pass, but you don’t want to overlook the benefit of planning for certain things that could happen during your lifetime. It is also critical to plan for the possibility of incapacitation.

If you cannot speak for yourself, you will need to have a plan in place that allows you to make your wishes clear. Through certain estate planning tools, you can outline your medical preferences in case you are not able to speak with care providers directly. Additionally, you can also name someone to act on your behalf through something called a power of attorney.

The function and purpose of a power of attorney

A power of attorney is an estate planning tool that allows you the ability to grant decision-making authority to someone else. There are different types of power of attorney, and they allow you to accomplish specific things, such as granting someone the right to make financial decisions on your behalf or the right to make medical decisions for you. Two of the most common powers of attorney included in many estate plans are:

  • Health care power of attorney — This is a tool that allows you to name a person to act on your behalf in medical decisions if you cannot make your wishes known. This authority would only apply in situations not specifically mentioned in your living will.
  • Financial power of attorney — This is an estate planning tool that allows you to give someone the power to make financial decisions for you in case you cannot do so for yourself.

The individuals trusted with this responsibility should be people whom you trust and those who are capable of prioritizing your best interests at every step.

Creating a beneficial, sustainable plan

You cannot control the future, but you can make decisions that will allow you to look to the future with confidence. If you do not currently have a power of attorney, you may want to consider the benefits of this addition to your current strategy. An evaluation of your needs can allow you to understand what estate planning steps will be most helpful.

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