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Why is Having a Power of Attorney so Important

Considering the possibility that you may one day not be able to make financial or health decisions for yourself is a grim thought. But by preparing now for that possibility can help ensure that your wishes are followed. Part of your estate and financial planning is appointing a Power of Attorney (POA).

Many people know they need a will, but they may not have appointed a POA. Here’s what you need to know about having a Power of Attorney, and why it’s important:

What is a Power of Attorney?

Before you can know why you need one, it’s important to understand what exactly a Power of Attorney is and what they do.

A Power of Attorney is a person, that you appoint, to make medical and/or financial decisions for you in the event that you are unable to (due to illness, accident or absence). You may choose separate individuals for financial and health or you may choose the same person for both. You may also have more than one person holding joint Power of Attorney.

For most people, a Power of Attorney will be a family member or a close friend, but whoever you choose, you wan to make sure that it is someone you can really trust to make decisions in your best interests.

Why it’s Important to have a Power of Attorney

If you become unable to make health or financial decisions for yourself, not having a Power of Attorney in place can put a real emotional strain on your loved ones as they try to figure out what you may have wanted.

Additionally, without a POA, your assets could get locked up until the Court appoints a POA for you. If you are one of the providers for the family, this could leave your loved ones struggling financially for a time.

But when you do have a POA you can discuss with them exactly what your wishes are and know that your family will still be protected if something happens to you.

Be Careful who You Appoint as Power of Attorney

When choosing someone to be your Power of Attorney It’s important to make sure you choose very carefully. The person(s) you’ve appointed will generally have the power to do anything you can do for yourself – except for creating a will.

Now, with that being said, you can limit the amount of power they have. You can give this person unlimited power, or you can restrict it to a certain amount of time, type of property, or type of decision.

How Long Does a Person Have Power of Attorney?

Unless you specify a period of time (or legally make a change) the person you selected will have Power of Attorney until your death at which time the executor of your will becomes in charge of your assets and estate.

Living will

A Power of Attorney will take care of your property and financial decisions, but a living will can be put in place to make sure your medical decisions are made in the manner you’d like them to be.

This document will outline the medical decisions you want to be made, and any life support decisions you’d like to have made in the event you cannot make them yourself.

Without a living will, decisions for your medical needs could be made by a medical agency or government – and these decisions might not be what you would have chosen.

Contact Levy Zavet Lawyers today

If you have not yet appointed someone with Power of Attorney for your health and financial decisions, the time to do so is now. Contact Levy Zavet Lawyers today to speak with one of our estate lawyers.

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