Many people think that estate planning is about nothing more than figuring out how their assets will be passed down to their loved ones. While asset distribution certainly is a major part of estate planning, it is not the only matter that needs to be addressed to ensure that your estate plan is thorough and holistic.
For example, powers of attorney are necessary if you want to provide as much protection as you can for your medical and financial future. A power of attorney is a legal document that gives to another individual the right to make important healthcare and/or financial decisions in the event of your incapacitation. This incapacitation may arise through the onset of a sudden medical condition, whether that be through an injury or some sort of disability.
Powers of attorney can give as much power to an agent as you choose. For example, if you simply want that named individual to handle your investment accounts while you are incapacitated, then you can create a limited power of attorney. However, many of these legal documents give full power to an agent, which means that he or she is able to handle all financial and medical affairs while the subject is incapacitated.
Regardless of whether you are interested in creating a power of attorney for purposes of handling future medical care, financial issues, or both, you need to choose your agent carefully. This individual should have a clear understanding of your wishes so that, if the need arises, they will make decisions that are in accordance with want you want. While some people find this discussion difficult to have with the individual they have identified, putting a power of attorney in place oftentimes leaves these individuals with a sense of relief knowing that their future rests in good hands in the event that they are no longer able to care for themselves.