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Why everyone needs a financial power of attorney

In our last post, we covered questions to discuss with a health care surrogate (the person your appoint to make medical treatment decisions on your behalf through advance directives, such as the medical durable power of attorney). Along the same vein, everyone needs to have a financial power of attorney that authorizes a trusted relative or friend to take over your finances if you cannot.

Regardless of age, this is an important step. An accident or illness often strikes without warning and failing to have proper documents in place might require a conservatorship proceeding. In the post, we will discuss taking care of finances.

Knowing the mortgage will continue to be paid

A financial power or attorney also called a durable power of attorney will allow your designated agent to attend to your affairs. For instance, if you are disabled and you can no longer pay your mortgage on your own, your agent would present the power of attorney form and be able to deal with your mortgage company or bank on your behalf.

When these forms are not in place, it can be a nightmare for family members to get access to handle your affairs on your behalf. It often means going through court to request a conservatorship. During this time, bills can pile up that damage your credit and have long-term consequences.

You can tailor any power of attorney to be as specific or as broad as you would like. For instance, perhaps you want someone to pay your monthly bills for you, but you do not want him or her to have access to your entire financial estate. And this estate planning tool is one of the most affordable.

The time to consider who you would want to handle your financial affairs is right now. It is critical to have this tool in place before you ever need it. It is still the start of the year and a good time to take strides to protect loved ones.

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