Is your estate plan missing this important document?
By: Jose Roman
When advising clients I typically advise that the Power of Attorney and not their Will is the most important estate planning document. Now this is just my opinion and other estate planners may disagree but I truly believe it to be true.
A power of attorney allows someone to act on your behalf for all financial matters while you are alive. This person can sell your house, take out loans in your name, access your bank accounts and anything else you can do with your own property that is in your name. Because of this, it is extremely important that when considering a power of attorney you name someone that you absolutely trust to handle your affairs for you. It is also important that you discuss everything that your agent can do for you with your estate planner to see if there is anything you would like to prohibit them from doing. For example, if you do not want your agent to have the ability to sell your house then you should mention that in your power of attorney so other parties are aware they are prohibited from doing so.
Why would anyone want to create a power of attorney in the first place? People create powers of attorney for various reason, but the biggest one is to allow someone to handle your financial matters when you are not able to do so yourself. If you were to become disabled or incapacitated for any reason you would have someone to continue paying your bills, accessing your bank accounts, applying for benefits and more. The alternative would be to have a guardian appointed by a court to handle these matters for you. In the long wrong it is always cheaper to have a power of attorney then it is to have guardianship proceedings.
Again, I think a power of attorney is the most important estate planning document you can have because of the amount of power you give to someone else over your property. Here are just some of the points to consider about Powers of Attorney.
#1 - Do not overlook the importance of this estate planning document. As I mentioned above I think this is the most important estate planning document you can have.
#2 - Make sure you name someone you absolutely trust to handle your finances. In fact have two or three people in mind because you always want to name backups. Whoever you name as your Agent make sure you also have a discussion with them so they are aware of what your expectations are in the relationship.
#3 - Have a discussion wit your attorney about what you want your Agent to be able to do. Since you are the one creating the document you can limit what actions your agent can take on your behalf, how long the power of attorney will last, when it goes into effect and more.
#4 - Remember your Power of Attorney ceases to be in effect when you pass away. Your agent will no longer be able to act on your behalf and it is now the responsibility of your Executor, whom you have named in your Will, to handle your affairs.
If you would like to know more about Powers of Attorney in Pennsylvania or would like to discuss creating one today please e-mail me at email@example.com or visit www.romanestatelaw.com to schedule your free estate planning consultation today.