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Offered by Dolan & Associates, P.C.

An important piece of estate planning is appointing individuals to make health care and financial decisions for you when you are unable to make decisions for yourself. The most common way to address this issue is to execute a power of attorney naming an agent to act on your behalf. An alternative is to use a revocable living trust to provide direction upon your disability.

You may create and execute a power of attorney granting an agent (the person you give authority to) the authority to act on your behalf. Others, such as banks, doctors, and government clerks, will be asked to rely on the document and act at the direction of your agent. Therefore, it is very important for you to execute a document that clearly reflects your intentions.

The grant of authority given to an agent is often very broad. As a result the named agent can do anything you can do financially. These documents usually take effect immediately. If you are granting broad powers to your agent, you should make sure it is someone you trust. Agents often misappropriate or steal assets; or subtly reposition the assets to go to the agent after your death.

Naming co-agents who must act together can provide you with additional protection and is always recommended. However, a better approach is to invest the time and effort necessary to put a thorough estate plan in place where your intentions are clearly spelled out. Simply putting a power of attorney in place is rarely adequate to result in things going smoothly upon your disability. Consider attending one of our complementary educational workshops so there is a smooth transition if you become disabled.

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Dolan & Associates