Most people don’t sit around thinking about what will happen if they become incapacitated, but you’re missing out on a major purpose of estate planning if you don’t take the time to consider that possibility. Part of having your estate plan in order involves making sure someone can take care of your affairs when you can’t.
For example, you need to set up a power of attorney for finances as part of your estate plan. This effort will enable someone to pay your bills and make other financial decisions for you if you can’t make them yourself. This is especially important if you have considerable assets that need to be cared for in the event that you’re incapacitated.
Choosing a financial power of attorney
The person you choose as your financial power of attorney should understand how to care for your assets. They’ll be responsible for everything related to your money and assets. The power of attorney designation means they can buy and sell assets, pay your bills and do anything you’d normally do.
It may behoove you to discuss your wishes with your designee so they’re aware of how you’d handle things. They shouldn’t ever make decisions according to what will benefit them. Instead, they’ll be expected to act based on what’s best for you.
The power of attorney for finances expires if you die. The duties of paying your bills and handling other financial decisions fall on the person you name in your estate plan as your personal representative or administrator in the event of your death. Some people opt to have the person who has power of attorney over their finances continue on as the administrator of the estate, but you don’t have to do this if there’s someone else whom you’d rather name to administer your estate.
A comprehensive estate plan is beneficial for all adults. A basic estate plan includes components enabling others to care for you if you’re incapacitated, as well as those that will concern what happens after you die. Working with someone who knows your situation and understands your wishes will help you to craft a plan that works for you.