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Most people understand the importance of a will for looking after your affairs when you’re unable to do so, but few understand the equally important power of attorney. A will may be the best way to help you sort out your personal affairs after you’ve passed away, but a power of attorney can help to ensure your affairs remain in order should you become unable to manage them while you’re still living. It can give you the peace of mind that in an emergency, someone you trust will have the authority to make important decisions on your behalf. On the other hand, if you become incapacitated without a power of attorney, your family may have to endure an elongated and expensive legal battle to get a court to appoint a guardian for you.
Power of Attorney 101
In the simplest terms, power of attorney is a document that allows you to grant legal authority to a certain person or group of people, enabling them to make decisions on your behalf. This person, commonly known as the agent, may then undertake decision making on your behalf whenever you are unable to do so. For example, if you become incapacitated with severe late stage Alzheimer’s disease or enter a coma, the agent can look after your estate to ensure the wellbeing of you and your loved ones.