An often-overlooked component of estate planning is the Power of Attorney Authorization. When you sign such an Authorization, you grant someone else the power to, essentially, be your agent. That person can withdraw money from your bank accounts, sign checks, take out loans in your name, and so on.
You might wonder why you would want to provide someone with such power. Suppose I have a stroke, which leaves me mentally and physical incapacitated. My wife decides that we should sell our house so that we can move into a home that is handicap-accessible. But there’s a problem: the house is titled in both of our names, meaning that my signature is required to sell the home, and since I’m now mentally incapacitated, the law says I can’t sign. My wife, if she wants to move forward with selling our house, must now petition a Court to be appointed as my Guardian, which means extra time, hassle, and expense.
Paying upfront is rarely fun. Our tendency is to think, “I’ll save some money by buying a cheaper mattress or buying some cheaper tires or buying a cheaper pair of shoes.” In the same vein, many today think, “I don’t need to see an attorney regarding estate planning; I’ll save some money because these sorts of things will never happen to me.” Of course, everyone thinks it will never happen to him or her. We just don’t know what life is going to throw our way. I recommend that you invest upfront so that you can rest assured that you and your loved ones are taken care of.