Who’s In Charge?

A key question that should be answered unequivocally in the estate planning process is who will be in charge when you are incapable of making decisions on your own.  There are two important points in time where the answer to this question is crucially relevant:

(1) who will make decisions with respect to your property and health care when you are incapacitated and

(2) who will be put in charge to manage your estate when you have died.

Generally, a power of attorney for property and a power of attorney for health care, or other equivalents depending on your jurisdiction, provide the ability to appoint an agent to act on your behalf during periods of incapacity prior to your death.

After death, your will and, if applicable, your trust will provide for an executor and/or trustee to assume this role upon your death.

Recently, Kelley Long, a Forbes contributor, explained the importance of having someone appointed to act as your agent in the event of incapacity in her article “The Most Important Estate Planning Issue Boomers Need To Address.”     Click on the linked article and consider the points Ms. Long addresses prior to meeting with your estate planning professional.


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