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Issues to consider early on when choosing a power of attorney

Medical advancements have made it so that people, even those with chronic illnesses, are living longer than ever. In fact, Moorestown residents may be surprised to hear that according to one source, over 90 percent of seniors these days have a chronic illness and over 75 percent have two or more chronic illnesses.

These statistics are even more important as the nearly 3.5 million baby boomers' actual ages. It is important not just that they have estate plans that protect them from fraud but also that baby boomers have estate planning enabling trusted loved ones to handle routine financial transactions. In fact, some experts say such financial matters should be addressed in an estate plan by the time the individual is 50-years-old, particularly by assigning someone as an agent in a power of attorney. The following are some considerations to keep in mind when choosing an agent.

First of all, it is important to understand that being an agent is a big responsibility. New Jersey residents should ,ake sure the individual tjey choose understands what such a role entails, and let them decide whether they are up for the task. A legal professional may be able to educate individuals about the role of an agent in a power of attorney. Sometimes, it may even be preferable to have a professional serve in this role.

It can also help for the agent to have a good understanding of the individual's finances before the individual reaches the point of incapacity. This may help them determine if fraud is taking place. For example, the individual or his or her accountant can provide the individual's agent with a list of what bills are paid, when and in what amounts. The list can also include the individual's other regular expenditures too. With this information, once the individual becomes incapacitated and the agent assumes his or her role, he or she has an idea of what is normal and what may be fraudulent.

In the end, baby boomers should make sure their estate plans are in order before it is too late. A power of attorney is just as important as a will or trust. With the proper legal documents in place, individuals can rest easy that their affairs will be handled the way they'd like them to.

Source: Forbes, "The Most Important Estate Planning Issue Boomers Need To Address," Kelly Long, May 8, 2016

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