One of the main goals of estate planning is maintaining a certain element of control over aspects of health care in case of incapacitation and distribution of assets after death. Estate planning, however, involves much more than deciding what will happen to your property after you pass away. Through certain estate planning documents, you can name a person to act on your behalf in case you are ever in a position in which you cannot speak for yourself.
A power of attorney is a useful tool that provides California adults with a certain measure of control in case of incapacitation. There are different types of power of attorney, and they each allow you to name a person to act on your behalf in certain matters. For example, there are financial power of attorneys and health care power of attorneys.
Name someone to act on your behalf
The person you specify in your power of attorney will have an immense responsibility to make potentially critical choices on your behalf. It is crucial to think carefully about the person you name to act in this role. If you currently do not have a power of attorney as part of your estate plan, you may consider the following facts about these documents:
- Incapacitation is the most common reason why someone would benefit from a power of attorney, but it may be important in other situations as well, such as if you are out of the country for an extended time.
- Incapacitation includes both the lack of physical capacity to make decisions for yourself or the lack of mental capacity to make decisions.
- An agent named in a financial power of attorney can pay your bills, manage your finances, make investment decisions and take other steps on your behalf in case you are unable to do so.
- A health care power of attorney allows you to name someone to act on your behalf regarding important medical decisions you require in case you cannot speak for yourself.
An evaluation of your current estate plan can help you understand why you may benefit from a power of attorney as part of your estate planning strategy. Creating these documents can provide you with important peace of mind and knowledge that your long-term interests are secure, even if you are not able to speak and act for yourself.