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Why a Durable Power of Attorney Should Be Part of Your Estate Plan

Crafting a comprehensive estate plan is a responsible and forward-thinking approach to managing your assets and ensuring your wishes are honored. A durable power of attorney is a useful tool for helping achieve these purposes. 

A durable power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that grants specific powers to an individual, known as the agent or attorney-in-fact, to act on your behalf. It is a proactive measure designed to handle situations where you may be unable to manage your affairs, and expires upon your death. There are different types of POAs, each serving distinct functions. A general power of attorney confers broad authority to the agent, allowing them to handle a range of financial and legal matters. Conversely, a limited or special power of attorney restricts authority to specific tasks or transactions, often used for short-term purposes. 

The durable power of attorney remains effective even if you, the person granting the authority, become incapacitated. Having this as part of your estate plan has many benefits, including:

  • Continuity of decision-making — Life is unpredictable, and unforeseen circumstances can disrupt our ability to manage our financial affairs. A POA ensures that your chosen agent can step in and make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so. This continuity is vital for timely management of bills, investments and other financial responsibilities.
  • Healthcare decision support — In addition to financial matters, a healthcare power of attorney empowers your agent to make medical decisions on your behalf when you are unable to communicate or decide for yourself. This ensures that your medical treatment aligns with your preferences and values.
  • Avoiding guardianship proceedings — A durable power of attorney remains in force even if you become incapacitated. This makes it unnecessary for a relative to initiate guardianship proceedings to gain legal authority over your affairs, a process that can be time-consuming, emotionally challenging and costly.

By proactively designating a trusted individual to manage your affairs, you take control of your future and safeguard your interests, while also saving loved ones from having to make decisions that may not align with what you truly want. To ensure your power of attorney is tailored to your unique circumstances and complies with state laws, consulting with an experienced estate planning attorney is advisable.

At Carolina Law Group, led by Tommy Kellis, we are experienced estate planning lawyers who understand the value of a POA. We can help you navigate the intricacies of creating a thorough estate plan, ensuring your wishes are upheld and your loved ones are well-supported. Don’t leave your future to chance—reach out to our firm today by calling 252-636-3737 or contacting us online.

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