VanNess & VanNess, P.A.

Power of attorney important to estate plan

Estate planning isn't just a plan for what happens after a Florida resident dies. Sure, a will that will be executed after a person dies is important to have, but it's only a part of the estate planning process.

A good estate plan provides for a living person who may become unable to care for themselves. Perhaps the person has dementia or a terminal illness or has been in a horrific accident and no longer can care for themselves or look after their finances. Someone needs to do this for them.

This is why having a power of attorney is so important to the estate planning process. With a POA, a person names someone they trust to take care of their financial affairs should they become unable to do so. A POA gives another person the power to access the disabled person's account so they can pay any bills. The POA should be drawn up and signed before any problems occur. Waiting until after problems occur to do a POA can complicate the process, and it may be too late to do a POA.

A will or perhaps a revocable trust is essential for handling a person's affairs after their death, making sure that assets are disposed of according to the person's final wishes. But planning shouldn't stop there. Some provision needs to be made for handling an incapacitated person's affairs while they are still alive. An estate planning attorney may be able to assist with a power of attorney, as well as drafting any other documents, including a will that may be needed.

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