What are the most common documents used in solid estate planning? For the most part, people tend to concentrate on creating clear and concise wills, trusts, their beneficiary designations and decisions about guardianship over their children.
While the estate planning tools discussed above lend weight to your end of life wishes, you might need more to strengthen your estate plan further. Creating powers of attorney to complement your existing plan adds additional protections for you and your family.
Many San Diego, California, residents do not believe they need a power of attorney if they already have a will. What these people might not understand is the many benefits associated with these powerful estate planning documents.
Two powers of attorney that strengthen everyone’s estate plan
1. Healthcare: A healthcare power of attorney empowers you to choose a person to make medical decisions for you if you can no longer do so. Examples include:
- Consenting or refusing medical treatments
- Consenting or refusing surgical procedures
- Choosing healthcare facilities
- Releasing medical records
- Continuing or removing artificial life support
2. Financial: A financial power of attorney works much like a healthcare power of attorney. The main difference is the decisions and actions your representative makes revolve around finances instead of health. Examples include:
- Paying your debts and taxes
- Making investments on your behalf
- Managing your medical expenses
- Collecting on your retirement accounts
- Managing and overseeing your property
Although you might think that you do not need a power of attorney, it is wiser to talk over these estate planning issues with a lawyer. Often, a legal perspective allows you to identify possible problems that you may otherwise overlook. You can then go on to add or remove estate planning elements according to your unique needs.