J. Kelly Kennedy, Attorney/CPA, PLLC

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Attorney and CPA

The importance of a power of attorney

Many Florida residents may have considered beginning the process of estate planning, but they may not be quite sure what exactly goes into an estate plan and what steps are necessary. This is okay -- it is to be expected. There are many who express similar concerns, but once they come to an understanding of the various components that go into an estate plan, their worries are eased. See, every part of an estate plan serves to protect both the goals of the person drafting the plan, along with the interests of their loved ones. Once a person realizes this, their initial apprehension is oftentimes quelled.

One important step to take when protecting one's goals is to designate a power of attorney. It is likely that many first think of the will when it comes to an estate plan. While a will is no doubt important, a power of attorney in some cases is just as important, if not more so.

In the absence of a will, a person's wealth will still be distributed among family members. That said, it is still better to have a will, as it will allow a person to decide how exactly wealth will be distributed. In the case of an absent power of attorney, however, many financially damaging things can happen by the time a person passes away. A power of attorney allows for ways to preserve assets, plan health care directives and allow loved ones to take care of a person if they become incapacitated.

A power of attorney gives someone else the power to act on a person's behalf should they become incapacitated. This allows a person to designate someone who is trustworthy and who is sure to carry out a person's wishes. For many people, it is in their best interest to create a power of attorney. That said, everyone has unique goals when it comes to estate planning and each situation demands a personalized plan. Legal consultation can help people come to an understanding of what options are available and how to best structure their estate plans.

Source: Reflector, "Financial health: Estate planning," Jan. 18, 2014

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