Yes! You Should Really Have a Power of Attorney

I have a lot of clients that want to talk to me about putting together a will, but that don’t think to ask for a power of attorney. Some of them don’t know what these things are, and some simply do not think they are necessary. I always tell them, “you should really have a power of attorney.”

As a matter of fact, you shouldn’t just have one type of power of attorney, you should have two, potentially three. One for your finances, one for your medical needs, and maybe one to designate an individual(s) for your children if you become incapacitated.

I, and most other estate planning attorneys, believe power of attorneys are so important that they are usually priced in and included with most estate planning packages that are offered to clients. If you get a will through my office, then you also get a power of attorney. If you set up a trust, then you are getting a power of attorney. What I am trying to say is, power of attorneys are important enough that they shouldn’t just be an afterthought to your estate planning; it should be a vital component.

So how exactly does a power of attorney fit in to your estate plan. Generally, when being drafted to conform with your estate plan, powers of attorney are made to fill in periods of time that you are still alive, but during which you might be incapacitated or otherwise unable to make decision. In those events, the powers of attorney will activate and an individual that you trust and choose to represent you during that period of time will be given the authority to handle your finances for you, handle your medical decisions for you, and/or care for your children for you.

While nobody ever wants to think about something happening to them that will take them out of the game, not putting in to play a power of attorney can be devastating. What if your money is tied up in your business and your family can’t access the accounts because your incapacitated; a power of attorney could help. Who’s going to make medical decisions for you if you start to suffer from a degenerative brain disease and can’t do it yourself; a power of attorney would let us know.
The bottom line is that when you are planning your estate, make sure your attorney includes your power of attorney. If you come to my law office, please know that not only do we make sure that we offer you a power of attorney, but that they are already included in the price of your estate plan.

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