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Powers of Attorney in Estate Planning are important to have

There are additional documents everyone needs as part of their North Carolina estate plan other than a Revocable Trust:  A Financial Power of Attorney, a Healthcare Power of Attorney, and a Living Will.

Estate Planning isn’t only about creating a Revocable Trust and who gets your “stuff” when you die.  There are so many other equally as important documents to have prepared.  If you don’t believe me, listen to my personal story below.  A prepared HealthCare Power of Attorney alone could have changed the outcome of my personal story.

1.  Financial Power of Attorney 

This document allows another person to act on your behalf in financial matters. The person authorizing the other to act is typically called the “principal.”  The person given the power is called the “agent.”  You name someone to help you with banking, real estate, and other financial matters.

There are two types of financial power of attorney:

a.  Durable Financial Power of Attorney

This is effective immediately upon signing.  It will be valid, even when the creator becomes incapacitated.

b.  Springing Financial Power of Attorney

This “springs” into effect when the principal becomes incapacitated.  Until then, the name agent is not authorized to use this document.

2.  HealthCare Power of Attorney

This document appoints an adult to make healthcare decisions for you when you cannot make them yourself.

When you’re in an accident, unconscious, or injured and need a specific medical procedure, for example, the designated agent steps in and makes important decisions on your behalf.  The step into your shoes. The decision made is the decision you would have made were you able to make it yourself.

3.  Living Will (a/k/a A Declaration for a Desire for a Natural Death)

This document is used in conjunction with your Healthcare Power of Attorney. However, its purpose is very different.  This document allows your named HealthCare Agent to be able to make a medical decision for you even if the decision may likely end your life.  It ends your life on your terms.

Who can be an agent?

The agent can be a family member, a friend, or a professional agent.  It is all determined by the person creating the document.  You should also have an alternate designated agent who can step in if something happens to your first choice and he or she cannot serve.  Include a third choice, but only if you trust that person as much as you do your primary and successor.  Don’t include someone just for the purpose of including them.

Who should have these documents?


Everyone who is an adult who is not suffering from an incapacity should have one created NOW.

Your family, close friends, and healthcare professionals should know how you feel about YOUR PERSONAL end-of-life treatments and have detailed directions regarding various circumstances and how you would like them handled.

Learn more about all important estate planning documents to execute:  5 Estate Planning Documents to Have

Suggested Key Terms: Estate Planning Lawyer, Power of Attorney, Healthcare Directive, Living Will, Probate Attorney

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