You know you’re supposed to brush your teeth and you probably do it – right? You know you’re supposed to look both ways before crossing the street. And, oh yah, there’s the one about not stepping on cracks or something happens to your mother’s back. Nobody walks on the street anymore and there are no cracks, so I guess we’re ok on that one. But, what about the one that says we’re all supposed to have a durable general power of attorney?
If you are ever out of commission, especially for more than a couple of days, you need someone to step into your shoes and do important things for you. Someone has to consent to that surgery, pay your bills and feed the dog (or cat). Someone has to make decisions for you and the only way that they can legally do that is to use a durable power of attorney or go to court and become your guardian. What fun! A judge gets to wave a wand and bang down the gavel on a person who will wear your shoes, and I sure hope they fit.
Attorneys and even judges forget to have a power of attorney prepared, so you are in good company. Doctors, nurses, teachers, baristas, that nice sales clerk at Target, the not so nice cop who gave you that ticket, the person taking tolls on the Narrows Bridge, pilots, you get the idea. Very few of us seem to get around to it and then hardly anyone ever updates it.
Stand out in the crowd and get your durable general power of attorney prepared. But, choose your agent wisely (that’s the person who steps into your shoes). I guess I could tell you to check shoe sizes carefully and make sure your agent wears socks. The wrong agent will likely end up in either Mexico or South Tacoma, depending on your account balance.
A good book on estate planning (in general) is Plan Your Estate, by Denis Clifford. Do it. Do it now.