An Estate Plan in one sentence is: A plan of action of what happens to you, your property, and the people that you are responsible for when you either die or become incapacitated. Many people think of an Estate Plan as simply a will or as something that goes into effect after I die. There are many parts to an estate plan. One of those parts is a Power of Attorney. This is someone that you choose to act on your behalf for financial or health related purposed, usually in the event of some incapacity. Incapacity is when you have a physical or mental inability to manager your affairs.
Without a Power of Attorney, your family and friends will have to rely upon the courts and the legal system to obtain authority over your affairs. Creating a Power of Attorney allows you to plan ahead in case of a later incapacity to ensure that your finances, healthcare, and other concerns are properly addressed to correspond with your wishes. An Estate Plan with a Power of Attorney can assist you if you become incapacitated. Stay tuned for another article in which you will learn about some of the authority that is given to a financial power of attorney.
Sam Swenson is a Business and Estate Planning Attorney in Sacramento, California. He can be reached at 916-333-0833.