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Appointing someone to handle financial decisions for you

When most people think about their estate plan, they automatically turn to the will and trusts. While it is true that these are major components in the estate plan, there is a lot more to think about. One consideration is how your finances will be handled if you are unable to make these decisions on your own because you are incapacitated.

You need to set up a durable financial power of attorney so that you know your affairs will be handled if you can't do it yourself. The person you appoint for this job should be one that you know will act in your best interests and take care of matters in a way that you would approve of.

People are sometimes reluctant to set up this designation because they worry that the person named can just take things over right away or at any point they want. This isn't the case. You have to be considered incapacitated, or legally unable to make your own decisions in a reasonable manner, in order for the power of attorney to come into the picture. If something happens and your mental state improves after the decline, the power of attorney can be removed again and you will handle your own affairs once more.

When you set up the durable financial power of attorney, you can decide just what powers the person has. Thinking about the "what ifs" might help you decide whether you want to give the person a broad scope of duties or if you want him or her to have only limited powers. Discuss your wishes with the person so he or she knows what to expect if the time comes for him or her to do these tasks.

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