As you begin the process of creating an estate plan, it is important to consider all of the different components that should be included. One crucial element is a durable power of attorney (POA), which allows you to designate someone to make decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so. Including a durable POA in your estate plan can offer many benefits and provide peace of mind for you and your loved ones.
What is a Durable Power of Attorney?
A durable POA is a legal document that allows you to designate someone as your agent to make financial, legal, and other important decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. This can include decisions related to managing your finances, paying bills, and making medical decisions. Unlike a regular POA, which typically expires if you become incapacitated, a durable POA remains in effect even if you are unable to make decisions for yourself.
Why Include a Durable Power of Attorney in Your Estate Plan?
Planning for incapacity: One of the main benefits of including a durable POA in your estate plan is that it allows you to plan for incapacity. If you become unable to make decisions for yourself due to illness, injury, or other reasons, your agent can step in and manage your affairs on your behalf. This can ensure that your bills are paid, your finances are managed properly, and your tax returns are filed.
Avoiding court intervention: By appointing someone you trust as your agent through a durable POA, you can avoid the need for court intervention and the appointment of a conservator to manage your affairs. This can save a great deal of time and money.
Providing clarity: A durable POA can provide clarity and guidance to your loved ones in the event that you become incapacitated. By designating a specific agent and specifying their authority, you can help ensure that everyone is on the same page and that your affairs are managed in accordance with your wishes.
Maintaining control: A durable POA allows you to maintain control over important decisions, such as the sale of assets or the payment of bills. By specifying the scope of your agent’s authority and any limitations or restrictions on their actions, you can help ensure that your affairs are managed in a way that reflects your values and priorities.
How to Create a Durable Power of Attorney
To create a durable POA, you will need to work with an experienced estate planning attorney. Your attorney can help you understand the different options available and create a customized document that meets your specific needs and circumstances.
When creating a durable POA, it is important to carefully consider who you want to appoint as your agent. This should be someone you trust implicitly and who has your best interests at heart. You should also consider appointing a backup agent in case your first choice is unable to serve. You should ONLY appoint individuals you can trust. If you are not sure whether you can trust someone, do NOT appoint him or her.
In addition to selecting an agent, you will need to specify the scope of their authority and any limitations or restrictions on their actions. This may include specifying which types of decisions they can make on your behalf and how they should manage your finances. You can also specify whether your agent’s authority should take effect immediately or only after you become incapacitated.
Once your durable POA is created, it is important to review it periodically and make updates as needed. This can ensure that it remains up-to-date and reflects any changes in your circumstances or priorities.
In conclusion, including a durable power of attorney in your estate plan can provide many benefits and offer peace of mind for you and your loved ones. By planning for incapacity, avoiding court intervention, providing clarity, and maintaining control, you can help ensure that your affairs are managed in accordance with your wishes. To create a durable POA, it is important to work with an experienced estate planning attorney and carefully consider your options to select the best agent.
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