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Powers of attorney serve important estate planning functions

The importance of various powers of attorney cannot be overlooked when a Nevada resident undertakes the task of creating an estate plan. Almost everyone is familiar with what a will can accomplish, and many people have a general notion of the benefits of a trust, but powers of attorney are often misunderstood. A comprehensive estate plan is intended to protect the estate of the individual after passing by fulfilling that person's wishes as indicated in the planning documents. Powers of attorney also can serve to protect the person during his or her lifetime as well.

In its basic form, a POA is a document that grants another person the authority to act for the maker of that POA. The person granted the legal authority to act for the maker is considered an attorney-in-fact. As legal professionals can explain, the nature of the power granted and the duration the power will last are specified in the POA. POAs are common in many financial transactions, such as the sale of a home, in which case the POA is specific and limited.

POAs for estate planning are typically more general and durable. For instance, if the person creating the estate plan creates a durable POA for financial matters, it allows the named attorney-in-fact to act in times of physical or mental incapacity of the principal. Similarly, a durable POA for health care can name another person to make decisions regarding the nature of final care provided as one's life is ending. One important consideration is that a POA can be changed or revoked at any time during the principal's life and ends, in almost all cases, at the principal's passing.

Powers of attorney can help ensure that one's wishes are given a voice. An experienced estate planning lawyer may explain how the various documents work in concert to that aim.

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