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Home » Estate Planning » What is a power of attorney?

Estate planning can benefit your family after you are gone by ensuring they receive your assets in the manner you see fit. However, this crucial legal process also offers benefits to you while you are still alive.

For instance, a power of attorney provides another person with authority over health and legal matters. In the event you can no longer make decisions on your own, this person will step in to make them for you. Because it is such a crucial decision, you must consider it carefully. This guide explains a few key details to keep in mind.

Why do you need a power of attorney?

Major illness and injury can have a devastating effect on your ability to make decisions. When it comes to financial matters, that can mean unpaid bills and other forms of turmoil. And if you cannot make your healthcare wishes known, doctors and other medical staff may provide unwanted treatment.

That is where a power of attorney comes in. This person has legal authority over your affairs to enable them to act as your personal representative. That means they can pay your bills or make financial decisions on your behalf, such as selling your home. This person can also communicate your specific medical wishes when you cannot.

Which type is right for you?

There are a few arrangements people can pursue to ensure their needs are fully met by this legal document. You can imbue your representative with broad powers, which allows them to make all sorts of decisions related to you. You can also give them specific powers, which may only be available on a limited basis.

In either case, it is best to make these arrangements now, before incapacity strikes. You may no longer be legally allowed to make such a designation if you are not of sound mind. Early planning also provides peace of mind for you and your family members, as you can rest assured that a solid plan is in place.