A will is a document that becomes effective upon your death. It is one part of a comprehensive estate plan that should include other legal protections to outline your wishes for your property. While a majority of these will go into effect after you die, there are some aspects that you should consider including that become active while you are still alive. A power of attorney is one such tool that an estate lawyer, like from the Yee Law Group, may recommend including in your comprehensive estate plan.
What Is a Power of Attorney?
Simply put, a power of attorney is a legal document you create, allowing another person to make decisions and take action for you when you are unable to. These documents temporarily transfer your personal legal right to make medical, legal and financial decisions to a person you choose. Creating one or more of these tools and incorporating them into a larger estate plan can allow you peace of mind that your best interests are represented by a person you trust.
What Is a Durable Power of Attorney?
Appointing someone to act on your behalf while you are unable to is something that a durable power of attorney does. This personal representative may be tasked with a specific task such as making medical decisions. You may create a durable power of attorney before you go into surgery, for example. Since you are unconscious and unable to authorize medical action, a durable power of attorney allows your representative to make these decisions as they arise. A durable power of attorney can be in effect before you are incapacitated and continue until your death.
What Is a General Power of Attorney?
When you are unavailable to sign a legal document, you may create a general power of attorney, allowing another to perform the task. This type of authorization allows a temporary transfer of your legal rights to another to perform a specific task on your behalf. An example of this is signing legal documents when buying or selling a house. A general power of attorney terminates when the particular task is complete.
Putting your affairs in order before your death is crucial to ensuring your family is cared for when you are gone. However, taking care of your own needs when you may be at your most vulnerable is just as important. An estate planning lawyer can be an excellent resource for this and other end-of-life matters.