Whether or not you have many assets, estate planning is important because it allows you to appoint decision makers who can act on your behalf in times of need.
Durable Power of Attorney
All persons (whatever age) need a durable Power of Attorney (for all matters except medical). With a durable Power of Attorney, you are appointing a trusted person—such as a wife, husband, or other relative—to take care of your affairs if you become mentally or physically disabled. Without one, an adult guardianship might be required.
A guardianship would require court supervision, and you could incur numerous costs and attorneys fees. With a Power of Attorney, your appointed agent may perform all actions you could have done yourself without the disability.
For Medical and End-of-Life Decisions
There are two additional provisions all persons need, regardless of age:
a Power of Attorney for medical matters (other than end-of-life decisions) for the same reasons as set out above, and;
an Advance Directive for Health Care (Living Will) to formalize your wishes concerning end-of-life treatment and decisions.
The bottom-line answer is that it's in your best interest to start your estate planning now. Please contact me for a consultation; I'm glad to help.
Grayson P. Van Horn is an attorney at law serving Oklahoma residents and property owners.
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