Understanding Estate Planning with Durable Power of Attorney
Estate planning is crucial to ensuring your assets are taken care of after you pass away. It involves identifying how you want your assets divided among your loved ones, who you want to manage them, and what happens if you become incapacitated. One of the essential documents to include in your estate plan is the durable power of attorney. It allows you to designate someone to make decisions on your behalf when you can no longer do so.
What Is a Durable Power of Attorney?
A power of attorney is a legal document that grants someone you trust the authority to make decisions on your behalf. They can make decisions on financial matters or healthcare decisions. A durable power of attorney retains legal authority if you are incapacitated. This means that your designated person can continue to make decisions for you if you are unable to do so.
Why Is it Important?
Having a durable power of attorney is crucial because it allows someone to act on your behalf when you cannot. If you were to become incapacitated without this document, your loved ones would have to go through the complex and expensive process of going to court and requesting guardianship or conservatorship over you. You can avoid this situation with a durable power of attorney and ensure your wishes are followed. A durable power of attorney protects your interests because you may never know when you will need someone to make decisions on your behalf if you become ill, disabled, or incapacitated.
Choosing a Durable Power of Attorney
The person you designate as your durable power of attorney must be someone you trust entirely. They should have the capacity to make decisions on your behalf based on your interests and preferences. They should also have the skills and knowledge to manage your affairs effectively. You can also choose to name multiple agents to share the decision-making responsibilities.
What Decisions Can a Durable Power of Attorney Make?
A durable power of attorney can make decisions regarding your finances, such as paying bills, buying and selling assets, managing investments, signing tax returns, and accessing bank accounts. They can also make healthcare decisions, such as consenting to medical procedures, authorizing or withholding life-sustaining treatments, and admitting you into long-term care facilities.
Durable power of attorney is an important tool in estate planning to ensure your affairs are taken care of even when you are unable to make decisions. To create this legal document, ensure you choose someone you trust entirely, identify the decisions they will make on your behalf, and revisit it often. By including durable power of attorney in your estate plan, you give yourself and your loved ones the peace of mind that your affairs will be taken care of, even when you can no longer make decisions.
Contact an estate planning attorney to learn more.