An estate plan contains many elements aimed at making things easier for your loved ones after your death. But there also are parts that make circumstances easier for them, and you, while you’re alive.

That starts with a power of attorney, which allows someone else to make decisions for you if you’re unable to, both financially and in terms of health care.

A financial power of attorney allows you to give someone else permission to manage your finances. That person can have broad powers or narrow powers in the following areas:

  • Paying your taxes, bills or medical expenses
  • Managing your money, including financial accounts or investments
  • Running your business or securing insurance for you
  • Buying or selling real estate
  • As you decide if you want to set limits on what your financial representative can do, try to anticipate just what you’ll need that agent to do and put the limits in writing.
  • The person who holds your health care power of attorney will make medical decisions for you when you can’t. Although you might have a health care directive, there could be circumstances in which you wind up needing medical care that might not be covered in your directive. Your health care power of attorney will be able to perform several tasks, including:
  • Decide who treats your condition and where you are treated
  • Approve or decline treatments as long the decision doesn’t contradict your health care directive
  • View your medical records
  • Grant visitation rights
  • Decide what will happen to your body after your death

The scenario is different for every Michigan resident, and powers of attorney aren’t one size fits all. To assure that your financial and health care directives meet your needs, it’s best to consult with an attorney experienced in estate planning.