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The importance of a power of attorney in an estate plan

There are a number of documents that can be extremely useful when it comes to planning an estate. A power of attorney is one of these and there are a number of reasons they’re an important part of a well-rounded estate plan for Louisiana residents. There are two types of powers of attorney: medical and financial and it’s important for residents to know what they each mean.

A health care power of attorney gives someone the authority to make medical decisions on the principal’s behalf should the principal be unable to do so because of some incapacity. A financial power of attorney is the same when it comes to financial decisions. Many times one person has the authority for both, but in some cases it may be better to separate the two tasks depending upon the circumstances of the principal. In either case, the agent chosen to act on powers of attorney must always make decisions that he or she deems to be in the best interest of the principal.

There are definitive things a person acting on a power of attorney cannot do. They include making decisions once the principal has died; changing a principal’s will; changing or transferring the power of attorney to someone else or breaching his or her duty to act in the principal’s best interest. Louisiana has adopted the Uniform Power of Attorney Act, which spells out the duties of an agent.

A Louisiana lawyer experienced in estate planning or elder law may be able to expound on the importance of a power of attorney. He or she can explain the differences between powers of attorney and how they can be of benefit to a client. Having a plan for the future can create peace of mind. 

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