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What is a power of attorney?

On Behalf of | Feb 14, 2024 | Estate Planning |

There are a lot of features that you can include in an estate plan. Your will helps instruct how your assets are handled after you pass away. You can name an executor responsible for distributing assets and settling your estate. You can also include a child guardian who could take custody of your children if you meet a sudden passing.

While most of those things focus on what would happen to your estate after you pass away, you can also focus on what would happen to you while you’re still alive. In other words, you may consider naming a power of attorney. A power of attorney is a representative who acts on your behalf if you’re incapacitated. You may be incapacitated if you develop a medical disease or mental illness or suffer from a traumatic injury in which you were alive but unresponsive or unable to care for your daily needs. A power of attorney could be there for you during this time. 

A power of attorney can represent multiple needs. Here’s what you should know:

Representing your financial needs

You may name a financial power of attorney. This kind of power of attorney handles any financial matters, such as paying bills, debts and taxes. They may also help sell or rent property on your behalf. 

Representing your medical needs

A medical power of attorney handles any matters related to the testator’s health. This may include deciding whether the testator will take a certain medication, or undergo surgery or physical therapy. 

Who can be a power of attorney? 

Anyone of legal age can be a power of attorney. Some people name one person as a general power of attorney, such as a spouse who maintains both financial and medical matters. Others will divide the roles between two people. 

You may benefit from reaching out for legal help to learn more about estate planning.