It’s not an enjoyable topic to discuss, but choosing someone for power of attorney is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your family. As you get older, you might start to require a caregiver. Ultimately, you’ll need someone who can make legal, medical and financial decisions on your behalf if you’re somehow incapacitated. It’s important to make this decision long before you actually need it.

Why do you need to choose someone for power of attorney?

If you were in a car accident tomorrow and ended up in a coma, who would be making decisions on your behalf? You’ll need someone you can trust to act in your best interests when you can’t speak for yourself. This person could end up making legal or financial decisions or talking to doctors about end-of-life care. If you don’t make the decision now, you might be appointed someone whom you don’t have much confidence in.

During the estate planning process, make sure you name someone for power of attorney. You should also name a separate person to act as your health care proxy. Together, these people can make important decisions and act according to your wishes.

How can an attorney help you plan your estate?

An attorney might help you choose someone for power of attorney. They may be able to advise you on choosing the best person for your situation. Additionally, an attorney may assist you in choosing a health care proxy and making decisions for end-of-life care.

Your attorney may also help you set up trusts, distribute your assets and choose a health insurance plan. With an attorney, you might be able to pass along your assets and avoid heavy tax penalties. Your attorney may also keep you from making common mistakes like neglecting to name a beneficiary on your savings accounts.