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How a durable financial power of attorney protects you

Understanding how to get the most out of your estate planning means knowing when and how to employ the right tools to allow for the management of your assets and your affairs under all circumstances. Most people understand this to mean that they should prepare wills and perhaps even a living will to ensure their medical wishes are followed through, but the fact is that it can go much further than that if you have the right tools in place.

One way to protect yourself is through the use of various powers of attorney for different purposes. For example, when you set up a living will, you can also empower a loved one to make decisions on your behalf if anything outside the scope of that living will comes up. Another way to protect yourself is through a financial power of attorney.

How does financial power of attorney work?

Generally, granting someone power of attorney gives her or him the legal right to make binding decisions on your behalf. In the case of financial power of attorney, this means the person will be able to manage your assets, pay your bills, and decide how money is spent at her or his own discretion. If the power of attorney is durable power of attorney, then that means it endures even if you become incapacitated. Otherwise, most of the time the power lapses upon your incapacitation.

How does this help with estate management?

USA Today reports that as more and more seniors are living to extended old age, there is a rising need for them to be placed under financial guardianship because of developing problems with decision-making and other personal tasks. If you do not designate a power of attorney to handle these affairs for you, there is a strong chance that the guardian will be state-appointed, giving you less control over the person's decision-making power and creating a situation where there is the potential for abuse.

Naming a financial power of attorney allows you to:

  • Add or change the people who are empowered to make decisions for you by granting or revoking it at will.
  • Control who is in charge of your finances should your decision-making abilities be incapacitated.
  • Ensure your financial wishes are followed as thoroughly as your medical directives.

When you need to set up a power of attorney

The best way to make sure your estate planning covers all the legal bases is to work with an attorney, and there is no exception when it comes to power of attorney documents. If you are looking to set up your agent, contact a lawyer today.

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