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Understanding a financial power of attorney

Are you interested in creating a financial power of attorney? If so, you probably have a very good reason for doing so. For example, this is something you should add to your estate plan.

In short, a power of attorney is a document in which you give a person the power to act on your behalf under certain conditions. With a financial power of attorney, you name an agent to make financial decisions in the event that you are unable to do so on your own, such as if you are incapacitated for any reason.

There are many types of powers of attorney, including conventional power of attorney, durable power of attorney and springing power of attorney.

Once you understand the ins and outs of a financial power of attorney, it's time to choose an agent. This means finding somebody you can trust to manage your finances just as you would.

If you aren't confident in a person, it's best to take a step back and reconsider. This isn't a decision you should take lightly, as it could have major ramifications in the future.

It is one thing to understand the benefits of a financial power of attorney. It is another thing entirely to create this document and use it to your advantage.

You don't have to create a financial power of attorney, but it will give you peace of mind. With this in place, you know your finances will be in good hands should you find yourself unable to make key decisions due to an illness or injury.

Source: AARP, "Financial Power of Attorney," accessed July 15, 2016

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