Question:  I've heard the phrase Power of Attorney but I don't know what it means.  Do I need a Power of Attorney?

Answer:  A Power of Attorney is a legal document in which in a person (called a “principal”) delegates decision making authority to another person (called an “agent”).  Powers of Attorney can be very broad giving the agent the ability to do every act that you could do yourself if you were able, or Powers of Attorney can be limited to cover only specific decisions and events.

When people refer to a Power of Attorney, they are usually talking about either Healthcare Powers of Attorney or Financial Powers of Attorney.  As the name suggests, a Healthcare Power of Attorney allows the named healthcare agent to make medical and healthcare related decisions for the principal if the principal becomes incapacitated and unable to make decisions on their own.  As long as you are able to make healthcare related decisions on your own, your healthcare agent will have no authority to make those decisions for you.   A Healthcare Power of Attorney only becomes effective if you are incapacitated.   A Financial Power of Attorney allows the agent to make financial decisions on behalf of the principal if the principal is unable to make those decisions on their own.  This includes the power to manage financial assets, buy and sell property, pay the principal's bills and more.  While your Financial Power of Attorney becomes effective if you become incapacitated, it can also become effective immediately if necessary.  This may be a good idea for people who will be leaving on a military deployment or who will have an extended absence from the United States.

Everyone over the age of 18 should have both a Healthcare Power of Attorney and a Financial Power of Attorney.  If something happened rendering you unable to make decisions for yourself, your family could wind up spending thousands of dollars just to have someone appointed by the court to make those decisions for you – without any input from you. Whoever the court appoints may or may not make the decisions that you would have wanted.  By planning today and creating Powers of Attorney, you can be sure that the best possible people are making your healthcare decisions and handling your assets if you are unable to do so yourself.

Powers of Attorney are just one part of a comprehensive estate plan.  Every KEYTLaw estate plan contains both a Healthcare Power of Attorney and Financial Power of Attorney.

Our Estate Plan

$3,497 for a single person and $4,497 for a couple.  If you bought our Gold LLC within four months of the date you pay for your estate plan you get a $1,000 discount.  This plan includes a revocable living trust that provides that the assets in your trust pass automatically on your death (or on the death of both spouses if you are married) to an irrevocable beneficiary controlled asset protected trust created for each of your heirs and their descendants.  Your heirs inherited assets in their trusts will be protected for life from their creditors, ex-spouses and bankruptcy courts.  Each heir's trust is also a "dynasty trust" that creates a trust for your heirs children on the heir's death. See "A Smart Option for Transferring Wealth Through Generations: The Dynasty Trust."

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