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Home | Estate Planning | What does a power of attorney do?

What does a power of attorney do?

| May 26, 2020 | Estate Planning

While drafting your estate plan, you will want to consider who will handle your affairs if you become incapacitated. You may enjoy good health right now. But it’s crucial to plan for any potential conditions that could arise as you age. As a precaution, you will want to create a power of attorney document to account for this possibility.

The power of attorney’s function

A power of attorney authorizes an agent to control your affairs if you become incapacitated. In Arizona, you can create up to three separate documents for financial, medical and mental health decisions. Most people appointing agents do so for medical or financial reasons. This person can then make choices for you regarding treatment and account management. They can also pay your bills for you if you can no longer do so.

While many people may not appoint an agent for mental health affairs, it may be worthwhile if you have a family history of mental illness. You may also be at risk for dementia or Alzheimer’s. Or, you may take medications that have potential mental health side effects. A mental health power of attorney may make sense in these cases, then.

The agent’s limits

When choosing an agent, you will want to ensure their trustworthiness and understanding of your affairs. This is because your agent must uphold your specific plans for your care and finances. After you appoint them, they cannot make decisions for you that conflict with your best interests. And their scope of power prevents them from touching other aspects of your estate. Once you die, your power of attorney authorizations become invalid. Thus, your agent can no longer make decisions for you.

No matter how far down the line you will need an agent, using a power of attorney to authorize one may benefit you. An attorney with estate planning experience can guide you through the process.