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Power of attorney is an important estate planning decision

One of the most important decisions you can make when planning for your estate is whom you will select as power of attorney. In some cases, you may select more than one person, as you can limit the type and scope of power you give any one individual.

Power of attorney designations can be confusing. First, you don't have to select an attorney as your power of attorney. You can choose anyone in your life whom you trust to follow your wishes or make complex decisions based on your wishes. Some people individuals in Oklahoma might choose as a power of attorney included a family member, close personal friend or business partner.

The decision about the power of attorney should relate to the type of power you are granting. Any resident of Oklahoma may want to consider a health care power of attorney, for example, and the person you choose for this responsibility might be someone you trust implicitly and know has your best interests at heart. The health care power of attorney allows a person to make decisions about your medical care if you are unable to do so, up to and including terminating life-saving measures.

In other situations, individuals appoint individuals who have the ability to make financial decisions in case a person loses mental capacity to do so. Again, you want to choose someone you trust, as there are cases of people extorting funds in such situations. Finally, individuals who own or are partners in a business may want to set up fail safes so there is someone who can vote as the proxy in business matters should the individual become incapacitated.

Power of attorney decisions themselves are quite complex, but the paperwork can be even more so. Seeking help to define relevant details for the protection of your person and assets is an essential part of estate planning.

Source: Derryberry & Naifeh, "Oklahoma City Estate Planning Lawyers" Sep. 04, 2014

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