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Powers of attorney are essential parts of estate planning

Most Massachusetts residents focus on what will happen after their deaths when creating estate plans. However, it is just as important, if not more so in some cases, to plan for what will happen in the event that they are not able to care for themselves at some point. This is where powers of attorney become essential.

No one can predict whether he or she will be involved in a serious accident or contract a debilitating illness. During those times, it might not be possible for you to make decisions regarding your health care or your finances. A health care power of attorney allows someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf regarding the medical care you receive. This document is most effective when coupled with a health care proxy that outlines your wishes, which can then be enforced by your medical agent.

When it comes to keeping track of your property and money, you will need a durable power of attorney. This document can have either broad or limited powers, depending on your wishes. As is the case with a health care power of attorney, the person you appoint to handle these decisions while you are unable to do so should be someone you trust who understands how you would like your finances and property handled.

Because powers of attorney grant someone else the power to act on your behalf, they need to comply with all current Massachusetts laws in order to be effective if they are needed. Just as is the case with other estate-planning documents, it would be in your best interest to sit down with an attorney to ensure that they are done correctly. This will help avoid any delays or mishaps that would require family members to go to court in order to take care of you in your time of need.

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