Estate planning is not limited to deciding how to distribute one’s assets after death. Some aspects of estate planning can benefit the planner, or principal, during his or her lifetime. A financial power of attorney document is one of those estate planning tools that provides peace of mind for many Louisiana residents, but it carries a heavy responsibility for the chosen agent.
When a loved one asks someone to act as his or her financial power of attorney, it is often because the chosen agent is trustworthy and loyal. A financial power of attorney has the authority to make the financial decisions the principal cannot make because of illness or incapacitation. This may happen during an aging loved one’s natural decline or at any time during the principal’s life.
To avoid being frustrated by the duties and responsibilities of the power of attorney role, many find it helpful to work with the principal well before the time comes to act on the principal’s behalf. This may include helping the principal organize assets and account information, getting a feel for the principal’s spending habits, and even working alongside the principal to pay bills and handle taxes.
The role of a financial power of attorney is not for everyone, but those who are chosen must always act in the best interests of the principal. For many in Louisiana, choosing a power of attorney and designating the duties for that agent can be confusing. However, a compassionate and experienced estate planning attorney can provide individual assistance that may put one’s mind at ease.