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How can St. Paul residents protect their finances?

Investment and spending decisions can be sensitive matters, and therefore individuals often want to act only on the advice of individuals they know and trust. With this in mind, it makes sense that individuals should likewise only want individuals they know and trust to handle their finances if they are unable to do so. If someone is unable to control their own finances because of an incapacity, for example, they will want other trusted people to make financial decisions on their behalf.

While this sounds like a rather basic thought, it is surprising how many St. Paul residents have not properly planned for this possibility. By creating a durable power of attorney individuals can ensure they have control over selecting the person who makes financial decisions on their behalf in the event of incapacitation.

By executing the proper documents, individuals can select an agent who will act on their behalf when it comes to financial decisions. There are different decisions that must be made in executing these documents, as individuals can appoint a person who can only act in the event of incapacity, or they can make it a "durable" power of attorney, where the selected agent has powers that extend beyond incapacity.

The power of attorney will cease when the person dies. Up until that point, however, there can be many significant financial decisions that must be made on behalf of the person, and therefore it is important that individuals consider whether they should execute a power of attorney and how they want that power to be exercised. The decision should not be made lightly, as it is a role that comes with a lot of responsibility. By giving it some thought and executing the right documents, however, individuals can ensure they will protect themselves and their finances in the future.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "Four estate-planning documents everyone should have," Tom Lauricella, April 20, 2014

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