When people think of estate planning, the first thought often goes to writing a will. A key part of the process, wills are important but there's more to consider when getting your affairs in order.
Enduring power of attorney is a critical part of any person's plan for the future. While it may be difficult to think about needing one, part of being prepared means covering all of your bases.
What Is An Enduring Power Of Attorney?
An enduring power of attorney (EPOA) is a document that allows one person (the maker) to appoint another person (the attorney) to make legal and financial decisions on their behalf should they be unable to do so on their own. Depending on what the maker wants, the EPOA can either be active from the time that it is signed or be activated at incapability. This is referred to as a 'springing' enduring power of attorney due to the fact that it springs into action when triggered.
Choosing An Attorney
Choosing someone to take on the role of your enduring power of attorney is a big decision not to be taken lightly. It is important to recognize that the person you appoint has the right to refuse and is not obligated to take on the role. You have the right to give the attorney as little or as much control over financial matters as you feel comfortable with but implicit trust should play a key role in the maker-attorney relationship.
Getting The Right Help
Depending on the complexity of your financial situation and the nature of your estate, working with a lawyer to prepare your enduring power of attorney may be helpful. Given how much is at stake, having an experienced professional guide you through the process can be invaluable. It is also important to review your EPOA from time to time to ensure that it is up-to-date and continues to reflect your priorities.
While no one wants to need an EPOA, having one can go a long way in providing peace of mind. As Benjamin Franklin so wisely put it "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."