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Why you need a last will and power of attorney

On Behalf of | Sep 22, 2020 | Estate Planning

People have all kinds of excuses for not creating a last will. They might feel like the fact that they aren’t married and don’t have kids means that they have no one to take care of through such planning.

On the other hand, if they are married but don’t have kids, they may assume that their spouse will just receive everything. Some people don’t want to think too much about what will happen when they die and don’t stop to think about how an estate plan also protects them while they are still alive.

Regardless of your marital status or whether you have kids, having both a last will and a power of attorney on record is critical for your safety and for any legacy you may want to leave behind.

If you die without a last will, the state might take everything

When you die without a last will, the state of Louisiana gets to determine how to hand out your assets to other people. There are laws that address this process, and they prioritize your closest family members, like parents, spouses and children. That could mean that people you aren’t close with receive everything.

In the event that you don’t have any biological or legal family to claim your assets, the state could potentially take everything even if there are people in your life that matter quite a bit to you and need those assets.

If you get sick but don’t die, you need a power of attorney

Quite a few people have an aversion to power of attorney documents because they don’t like the idea of giving someone else authority over their financial accounts or their medical decisions. However, a power of attorney only takes effect in a situation where you cannot act on your own behalf.

You can also make a power of attorney as specific as you want for your own protection. You can create a standard power of attorney that offers medical and financial authority to someone you trust if you are in a coma or similar scenario.

If you worry about the potential for long-term incapacitation due to a family history of medical conditions like Alzheimer’s, a durable power of attorney gives you the authority to appoint someone you trust now. Unlike with standard power of attorney documents that will lose their power if you experience permanent incapacitation, a durable power of attorney applies to specifically that situation.

While you may never need the protection offered by comprehensive estate planning, it’s better to act now and enjoy peace of mind than to constantly have to worry about what might happen to you or the people you love if you suffer a medical event or die.