If you have a will and/or a living trust, you may have a feeling that you have control over how your assets will go to your surviving family or friends after you die. But what if you need to someone you trust to take care of your affairs while you are still living? Maybe you are young and like to travel. Maybe you are a member of the armed services deployed overseas. Maybe you are of advanced age and unable to take care of yourself like you used to. Or maybe you simply want someone you trust to be in place to take care of your finances in case of an emergency.
A power of attorney is a written authorization for someone to represent or act on your behalf. Powers of attorney are commonly used in financial matters and to appoint persons to make medical decisions in case of physical or mental incapacity. It is important to make a power of attorney "durable" so it does not expire if you become incapacitated, especially for financial matters.
Your agent is required to act in your best interests at all times, as well as keep accurate records, keep their own property separate from yours ("commingling") and avoid conflicts of interest. You can give your agent the power to do a variety of actions on your behalf, including handling financial transactions, collecting government benefits, paying taxes or operating your business.
Click here for more information on powers of attorney.
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