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Points to know about a power of attorney

When you create an estate plan, you need to consider the end of your life. Some aspects of the estate plan actually come into the picture before you pass away. You should think carefully about how decisions on your behalf will be made before you pass away. These include your finances and medical care. Fortunately, you can act now to set up a plan for when you are unable to make decisions for yourself.

For some people, the thought of signing a power of attorney is difficult. This is partially due to them receiving some misinformation about what this means. It is imperative that people getting older, or have an elderly parent, find out what they can about the power of attorney, how it can help and what limitations apply. Here are a few to remember:

Choosing your representative

You will need one or two representatives for the power of attorney designations. You need one if the same person will handle your finances and health care decisions. You need two if one person will oversee your finances and the other your health care.

When you are thinking about whom you will name for these duties, make sure you choose someone who can follow your wishes. This usually means someone who isn't going to be swayed by personal desires. Parents will sometimes appoint their children, which is understandable. Just make sure that they are prepared to stand up for your needs despite the emotions that come with this event.

When the power goes into effect

A power of attorney is only going to go into effect if you can't make decisions on your own. You aren't giving anyone power to control you while you can handle matters yourself. Some of these designations can survive your death, which is beneficial if someone will have to decide whether to bury you, cremate you or donate your body to science. You should include these instructions in your estate plan if possible so that everyone knows what you want.

Voiding the document is possible

As long as you are of sound mind, you can revoke the power of attorney designations. Once they are revoked, or voided, the person wouldn't have any power to make decisions on your behalf. Make sure that you really do want to revoke the forms. If possible, be prepared to get another one established so that you know you are covered if something does happen to you.

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