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Designating a power of attorney, important for estate planning

There are many estate planning tools that can be used by those in New Jersey that can address the needs of multiple situations. One prime example is the power of attorney. Many people use a power of attorney in estate planning because it can offer the individual a sense of relief knowing that someone they trust will be able to make important decisions for them if they cannot care for themselves.

This type of tool is one which may not always come to mind when considering estate planning, but is among the tools used to address needs that arise when an individual is alive, which are as important as those used for the distribution of assets after death.

For a family in New Jersey that is faced with the decision of how to handle the care of an incapacitated or incompetent individual, a durable power of attorney can be invaluable. The document appoints an individual who will be able to act as a manager for the estate of a family member who subsequently becomes unable to care for him or her own self. This appointee can act as either a financial or healthcare manager specifically, or they may be able to assist with all aspects of the individual's life.

When creating an estate planning tool such as a power of attorney, the person creating the plan first must consider who they would like to appoint to be the attorney-in-fact should they become incompetent or incapacitated. The person appointed should be a trusted friend or family member who can act responsibly in the planner's time of need. In addition, an understanding of financial or healthcare matters is often a helpful trait to find in an attorney-in-fact.

Estate planning covers all aspects of a person's estate. Not only are the creation of wills and trusts important, but also planning for potential incapacity is essential. A properly drawn power of attorney can allow the person creating an estate plan to rest assured that they will be protected by their power of attorney should they be unable to care for themselves.

The decisions to be made during estate planning can be challenging, and should be carefully thought out. New Jersey residents may find it assuring to know that, should they need it, there are avenues available for them to get the guidance they need to complete the process.

Source: Forbes, ""The Grey Zone": How to Handle Partially Incompetent Aging Parents," Carolyn Rosenblatt, Sept. 5, 2012

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