If you've begun the estate planning process, then you've likely heard the term "fiduciary" thrown about. This word can be used to describe the duty that either an institution or a person has to protect the interests of another with the utmost loyalty, trust and honesty. Some refer to this obligation as providing a "higher standard of care".
A power of attorney (POA) is a document that should form part of your estate planning toolkit. There are many different types of them, each with different purposes. One may allow you to appoint another individual to handle your finances. Another may allow you a designee to make medical decisions for you.
Creating a living will can be a daunting task. Many people know that they should create one, but it often becomes very difficult to face what feels like a scary task. However, it does not need to be so difficult.
Americans are living longer than ever, and with increased age comes additional concerns about how we will be able to live our lives with dignity and peace in our later years. As we live longer, conditions such as dementia can develop, and it can lead to a situation where a person is physically healthy, but his or her brain is not.
If you suffer from a disability or have a condition that is expected to progress over time, then you may have thought about the possibility of you becoming incapacitated, and therefore unable to make legal decisions, at some point in your lifetime. In order to prepare for this possibility, it is likely that you have considered selecting a power of attorney that can act on your behalf legally when this time comes.
One of the biggest decisions you can make in regard to your future is to select a financial power of attorney. This can be a very overwhelming process for many and is something that requires a great deal of consideration and care.
When people are writing their wills or living trusts, they are wise to think about any possible scenario that might arise after their death or during their lifetime when they might become incapacitated or of ill health. They naturally will want to prepare as much as possible for all scenarios, so that they can be in control of their future and the future of their assets.
The future is unpredictable. We don't know when something can happen that might incapacitate us from being able to make important governing decisions about our estate. But what is in our control now is the ability to put certain things in place so that if we were to die or become incapacitated, our estate and other practical matters would be put into the hands of a trusted person that will become an agent.
An advance directive can tell your children what you want them to do in terms of medical care. You can also set up a medical power of attorney, giving a child the power to make those decisions for you.
Using a financial power of attorney, you essentially make someone else your financial agent. This gives them legal power to handle your money. They're obligated to work toward your best interests, but they do things that you can't realistically do for yourself at your age.