Most people, when creating an estate plan, focus on what would happen in the event of their own passing. However, sometimes planning for incapacity goes overlooked.

Powers of Attorney and Health Care Surrogates are a vital part of any estate plan. A Power of Attorney is a document in which you name an agent to act on your behalf in the event of your incapacity or inability to manage your financial affairs. Your designated agent will have the authority to do things such as pay your bills, receive your income and file your tax returns. Aside from a few exceptions under the law, you can grant your agent the power to perform any actions on your behalf so long as the acts are specified in the document. Therefore, it is very important that a power of attorney be drafted carefully and with the right details so that you are protected in the event of your incapacity.

When people meet with their attorney, the focus is often times on financial affairs. However, of even more importance is ensuring that your loved ones have the proper documentation to make important health care decisions for you in the event that you are unable to. The document you should be asking for is a health care surrogate, which names the persons who will make medical decisions in your place.