Powers of attorney are important estate planning tools

Powers of attorney for healthcare or for legal and financial management are great estate planning tools for anyone at any age. 

Of course, accidents happen, and unexpected issues can arise at any time in life. POAs provide peace of mind for loved ones, especially as people age. 

An overview of powers of attorney

A POA for healthcare gives the person you choose the legal authority to manage healthcare matters on your behalf if you become incapacitated and unable to act. Similarly, the POA for legal and financial matters allows your agent to act in your stead to manage these areas of your life. Without these powers, family members must go through legal delays and considerable red tape in order to obtain a guardianship to care for you. 

A helping hand

Some older people need someone to help with certain tasks, such as handling their bills or even just balancing a checkbook. The POA for finances enables a trusted family member or friend to fill that need. 

Early preparation

The earlier the better is the rule of thumb in creating your POAs for healthcare and finances. As you age you must consider the possibility of some form of dementia. You must be mentally competent in order to establish powers of attorney and appoint an agent. Keep in mind that a durable POA becomes active as soon as you sign it, giving the person you name the authority to act on your behalf. He or she will retain that authority even if you never become incapacitated, and that translates to peace of mind for your loved ones. 

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