What you need to know about estate planning: Power of attorney explained
Yvonne Michaud Novak is an estate planning expert. The attorney in Duluth sat down with WDIO to explain a few terms that we’ve heard, but maybe don’t completely understand.
The first one is power of attorney. Maybe you’ve been asked to be one.
Novak said, “The person is appointed to make legal and financial decisions for the person who’s asking them to be power of attorney. They can do banking, they can do insurance, they can do taxes, real property if it’s legal or financial. Once they’ve been given that authority, it means that they can go into your bank account, they can sell your real estate. It’s a pretty big deal.
She explained that it’s only in effect when the person who appointed you is alive.
Also, you can have durable power of attorney, which means it continues when you become incapacitated. This too, though, ends when the person you appointed dies.
“I see that a lot of times people will go to the bank after mom has died and bring in the power of attorney thinking that gives them the authority to deal with the bank account and it doesn’t. That durable power of attorney died with your parent,” Novak said.
Another term to know is agent of your health care directive. That person makes medical decisions for you.
“What happens, in the event that you’re in an accident, how do you want your medical care to be provided? Do you want them to hook you up to machines or not? How do you want that dealt with,” Novak said.
She added it’s very important one for the person who’s been appointed the agent to understand what that person wants.
Both the health care directive and power of attorney are important to lay out, before times get tough or tragedy strikes.
Some attorneys will do a free consult, about these types of services.