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Power of attorney is an essential estate planning tool

When many people in Las Vegas think of estate planning, they often imagine a will or trust. They would be correct in considering these to be the foundations of a proper estate plan. However, estate planning attorneys may advise that other documents are just as necessary. One of the more important documents is the power of attorney.

A power of attorney is basically a document that allows another person to act as an agent or attorney in fact for them. The agent can be appointed for general actions or specified actions depending on the language of the document. It can take effect immediately or when the grantor becomes disabled.

Of the different types, a general power of attorney normally grants the broadest powers. It covers most financial transactions, including the power to access financial accounts, buy or sell real estate and borrow money. A limited power of attorney will be tailored for a specific transaction or series of transactions, such as a real estate purpose. A healthcare power of attorney allows the agent to make medical decisions if the grantor cannot.

When granting a power of attorney, there are important steps to take. Choosing the correct attorney in fact can be crucial. It should be someone trustworthy and capable of performing his or her duties. Failure to choose the correct agent can lead to misuse of assets.

Making sure that the correct power of attorney is also important. For example, a general power of attorney may not be effective for healthcare decisions. For a power of attorney to be used if the grantor becomes disabled, a durable power of attorney is needed. Finally, the document must be executed properly, or it could be invalid and not be honored by a third party. An estate planning attorney may assist in preparing the correct documents and properly executing them.

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