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Power of attorney as an estate administration tool

Few people can live out their last years of life without needing some kind of assistance. As people age, they need more and more help from their loved ones and others around them. For people who have amassed a substantial estate during their lifetimes, this may include the need for help managing that estate as they get older. Other elderly people need help when it comes to making important decisions about their health and treatment.

A power of attorney can be a useful tool that allows agents to help people, as they become older, with these and other issues. Polk County residents can use a power of attorney to assign one or more agents the power to act on their behalf. The person who is delegating the authority to an agent can structure the power of attorney to fit his or her own life circumstances.

For example, if the executor of the power of attorney is concerned about dealing with estate administration issues later in life, he or she can delegate certain administrative powers to an agent. But, that person can set up the power of attorney mechanism to only take effect under certain conditions, such as in the case of incapacity. . Likewise, executors may decide that they want their agents to handle only a very particular set of tasks. For example, to take care of all of the maintenance and tax responsibilities of their estates.

People can limit the power that their agents have so that the power of attorney authority meets their exact needs. But, to accomplish this, the person needs to take time and think through exactly what kinds of help he or she foresees needing in the future. Then, an experienced estate administration attorney can help structure the appropriate power of attorney through clear and unambiguous legal documentation.

A power of attorney can be a tremendous tool to help people as they get older. But, like so many other things in life, the time to think about setting up a power of attorney is before it becomes necessary.

Source: American Bar Association, "Power of Attorney," Accessed on March 23, 2015

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