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What is a power of attorney?

On Behalf of | Feb 16, 2024 | Estate Planning |

An estate plan focuses on a lot of matters relating to a testator’s passing. A testator’s will or trusts help instruct how their assets are managed and who should benefit from them. An executor of the estate is named to settle the testator’s estate. And a child guardian could take legal custody of a child should the testator pass away. 

One aspect of an estate plan that is often overlooked is the power of attorney. A power of attorney is a representative who acts on behalf of the testator. Typically, the power of attorney would only act if the testator becomes  incapacitated. This may mean the testator suffered an injury that put them into a coma or they developed an illness that makes them incoherent and unable to care for themself. 

There are a few things you should know about a power of attorney. Read the following to learn more:

What responsibilities does a power of attorney have?

As mentioned above, a power of attorney acts on behalf of the testator. The power of attorney can manage any financial or medical matters. 

A financial power of attorney could manage any matters relating to the testator’s finances. This may include paying rent, debts or taxes. This kind of power of attorney could also be used to make investments while the testator is of sound mind. 

A medical power of attorney handles any of the testator’s health decisions. They may decide whether the testator undergoes surgery or takes medication, for example.

Many people group financial and medical powers of attorney into a general power of attorney. This could mean that one person would have the right to make any financial or medical decisions for the testator. 

Learning more about estate planning and powers of attorney may be very beneficial.