The future can bring unexpected events to your life, and it is in your interests to plan for these events, even if you do not think they will ever happen to you. Planning for contingencies is a critical aspect of protecting your legal and financial interests, and it can help you feel confident regarding the future. One important aspect of this is creating a thoughtful and carefully crafted estate plan.
For most people, an estate plan begins with drafting a will. This is a document that outlines what you want to happen to personal property after you pass, and names a guardian for minor children. As part of your complete estate plan, you may want to include powers of attorney as well. These additions can provide extra security and peace of mind.
What is a power of attorney?
A power of attorney is a legal document that allows you to name a person to act on your behalf in the event that you are unable to speak for yourself or make important decisions. Powers of attorney often come into effect in situations of incapacitation due to illness or injury. There are different types of powers of attorney, but the most common ones include:
- Financial power of attorney — This is a legal document that authorizes someone to act on your behalf in financial decisions. You can write it in a way so that it takes place immediately after signing it, or at some point in the future.
- Medical power of attorney — This is a legal document that appoints someone to make medical decisions on your behalf, specifically ones not listed in your living will.
In some cases, the same agent is both the medical and financial power of attorney. This designated individual should be someone you trust and who is willing to have that responsibility.
Creating a strong estate plan
To face the future with confidence, you will benefit from having a complete and up-to-date estate plan in place. If you do not already have this, adding powers of attorney can be a beneficial addition to your existing strategy. An assessment of your California estate, your health concerns, your objectives and other factors can help you understand what steps will be most beneficial for your situation.