Don’t forget about powers of attorney in your estate plans

While many people choose to focus their estate planning efforts on things like making sure their will and trusts are set up properly, there is another facet of this process that shouldn’t be overlooked: You need to set up powers of attorney designations so that the people you choose can take care of matters for you if you ever become incapacitated.

There are two areas of concern: Medical and financial. A medical power of attorney can make decisions about your physical care and treatment if you’re unable to express your own wishes. This includes determining what type of care you’ll get if you don’t have an advanced directive in place.

The other power of attorney you need to establish is for your finances. Your designated power of attorney for financial matters can make all the financial decisions you usually would. This is the person who will pay your bills, do your banking and talk to your credit card companies if you cannot. Unless you specify otherwise, this individual can do anything with your assets and money that you’d do, including changing investments and selling or buying real property.

You can set limits on what these individuals can do, but you should only pick people who will do things that are in your best interests. You don’t need anyone who is going to try to be self-serving. This is especially important for your financial power of attorney designee.

Speak to your attorney to find out what steps you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones. Setting up these documents in the proper manner is one option that you have for this so be sure you consider all the options that are available to you.

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