When people think of estate planning, the first thing that comes to mind is a will. However, there are other documents to consider as part of a comprehensive estate plan, documents that can play a crucial role in your life, not just in the lives of your heirs.

Despite the name, a power of attorney has nothing to do with the practice of law. It is a document that grants another individual the authority to make decisions on your behalf. For this discussion, we’ll focus on the powers of attorney that take effect when you’ve become incapacitated.

Trusting others to make financial and healthcare decisions

You may already have an advance healthcare directive. If you have named an individual to make healthcare decisions on your behalf, you have effectively instilled them with power of attorney. You can also set up a power of attorney that enables a trusted individual to make financial decisions on your behalf should you ever be unable to do so.

In times of uncertainty, having powers of attorney in place is more essential than ever. You should discuss your options with a skilled professional.

Can I change or revoke a power of attorney?

A power of attorney is not set in stone. You can and should update these documents as you experience changes in your life or your philosophical outlook. In fact, it is a good idea to review your entire estate plan every few years and make any updates as you see fit.

Give yourself peace of mind

It’s not pleasant to consider a situation where you may find yourself temporarily or permanently incapacitated. However, having a power of attorney in place can help provide you with the peace of mind that comes with knowing your wishes will be honored.

Consider the power of attorney to be a type of insurance policy. You hope it will never come into play, but it’s nice knowing you’ll be protected should the unthinkable ever occur.