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What is a Power of Attorney and Why Do You Need One?

As much as we hate to admit it, there may likely come a time in our lives when we are incapable of making decisions for ourselves. We may find ourselves incapacitated mentally, physically or emotionally, impairing our judgment and making it necessary for someone else to protect us and make vital decisions on our behalf. In legal matters, this person would be your power of attorney.

Creating a Durable Power of Attorney will designate a trusted individual to act on your behalf when necessary. You can also choose to stipulate different people for different designations. For example, you could assign one person to be your power of attorney over financial matters and another to be your power of attorney over medical matters. Whether you choose one individual or decide to divide the responsibilities is simply a matter of choice and comfort. Perhaps you know that one person will respect your medical wishes, but isn't good at financial matters - or vice versa.

What happens if you do not designate a power of attorney and become incapacitated? Generally the court will choose someone to be responsible for medical, financial and all other decisions on your behalf. The person they choose may or may not be someone that you know. In fact, it could be a complete stranger to you. How can this person really know what decisions you would make if you were able? They can't. In fact, court battles over matters such as these are all too common and can drag on for years.

Creating a Durable Power of Attorney is a simple matter and should be done as soon as possible.  We never know what tomorrow holds, but we can do our best to prepare today. For more information on naming your power of attorney(s), contact MH at 888.222.1328.

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