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The importance of a power of attorney

People in Nevada who are working on their estate plan may want to consider including a financial power of attorney as part of that plan. A durable power of attorney grants immediate access to the principal's financial affairs while a springing power of attorney kicks in when the principal is found to be incapacitated.

People may initially think the springing power of attorney is the best option because it allows them to have sole power over their finances until they are unable to make decisions on their own. However, the disadvantage of the springing power of attorney is that it can be difficult to get a person declared incapacitated. In the time that it does take to do so, important bills and other financial matters might be ignored.

Whatever type of power of attorney is chosen, it is particularly important for people to consider this as they get older because age increases the likelihood of hospitalization. Fewer than 5 percent of people over the age of 75 claimed that they did not have to visit a doctor or emergency room or have home health care during 2013, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As people age, diagnoses of cancer and Alzheimer's disease also increase.

Few people like to discuss or think about estate planning. It can be upsetting for both the people doing the planning themselves and their families to discuss these issues, and talking about being incapacitated could be even more difficult than discussing death. However, a carefully-made estate plan can make life easier for family members. With someone selected to be in charge of finances, someone can quickly step into that role if needed. A person can also be appointed to make medical decisions, and another aspect of estate planning can include leaving instructions regarding desired end-of-life care in a living will.

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