When our readers in Florida think about getting started on estate planning, they probably think primarily of wills and trusts, and how their estate will be distributed after death. However, a comprehensive estate plan should also include other documents, some of which may be needed while the planner is still alive. Power of attorney documents are a prime example.
It is common to see two different types of power of attorney documents included in an estate plan: a financial power of attorney and a healthcare power of attorney. You’ll oftentimes see different names for these documents, such as “durable” power of attorney or “healthcare directive,” among others. However, the intent of these documents is the same: to give another person the right and ability to make important financial or healthcare decisions on your behalf.
Under the terms of a financial power of attorney document, another person is typically empowered to take such actions as accessing bank accounts, paying bills, signing contracts or even selling property, for example. Under the terms of a healthcare power of attorney document, the appointed person would usually have the right and ability to make choices about what medical treatment you might receive.
Powers of attorney are sometimes designed to be temporary. For instance, if you are going to be out of the country and hard to reach for an extended period, you may wish to give a trusted associate the legal authority to take care of some of your financial or legal affairs.
When planning for your own possible incapacity, you may consider a durable power of attorney. This type is designed to last throughout your incapacity.
A comprehensive plan
Power of attorney documents are part of those plans and you need to make sure those documents are drafted correctly. For more information, please visit the power of attorney overview section of our law firm’s website.