June 28, 2017 08:05 AM
Today, we’ll learn about an important document—for you, and for your loved ones. That document is your Power of Attorney (POA).
With a Power of Attorney, you can authorize another person—called your “agent” --to act on your behalf in virtually all money matters—in the event that you become ill or incapacitated. A POA is not a substitute for a will or other estate planning, however. The POA comes to an end upon your death, or if you choose to revoke it—whichever comes first.
The POA is a very powerful document, it has its limits. Your agent can’t make health care decisions on your behalf. Another document, a Health Care proxy, addresses health care decisionmaking. You can appoint the same person to act for you under both documents.
You have many choices and options about the authority that you’ll give to your agent. You can give your agent very narrow powers—or very broad ones.
For elder care planning we often use a broad power of attorney—which allows your agent to step in on your behalf if you become incapacitated.
When selecting an agent, finding someone who you trust 100 percent is essential. An untrustworthy person could abuse the power of attorney to take your money and other assets. There are safeguards that can be put into place—but making sure that you appoint a trustworthy agent from the start is your best protection.
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