Beyond wills and trusts, a critical component of estate planning that is often overlooked but equally essential is a financial power of attorney. This is a legal document that grants another individual to manage your financial affairs on your behalf when you are incapacitated.
It can be a crucial document when, say, an unexpected injury or illness leaves you unable to manage your financial affairs effectively. Here is why you need to anticipate such eventualities with a financial power of attorney.
You will avoid costly and time-consuming guardianship proceedings
When you become incapacitated, and no one is legally authorized to manage your finances, your loved ones may have to go through the complex legal process of petitioning the court for guardianship or conservatorship. It can be an emotionally draining, lengthy and costly undertaking. A financial power of attorney helps you avoid this scenario, saving time and resources.
It puts you in control of what will happen in times of uncertainty
You can choose the person to handle your financial matters when incapacitated instead of leaving it to a judge. In addition, you can specify when a power of attorney takes effect, whether immediately or upon a specific trigger and how long it lasts. This flexibility allows you to control your financial affairs even when you temporarily cannot manage them yourself.
Having the necessary plans in place also provides peace of mind
Knowing that you have someone you trust who can step in and handle your financial matters if needed provides you and your loved ones with peace of mind. It reduces the stress and uncertainty accompanying sudden health crises or unexpected life events, allowing you to focus on your recovery and well-being.
Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all when preparing for unexpected life events, and it’s best to consider seeking informed guidance. Learning more about what you can do to align your unique circumstances and objectives while meeting legal requirements when drafting this crucial document can go a long way in safeguarding your interests.