One of the most important things you should do as you work on your estate planning is to authorize someone to make decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated and can no longer make your own decisions. The person you authorize is called your agent. You can provide your agent with specific instructions that you wish to have carried out should your agent ever need to act on your behalf.

Without that authorization and instruction, your case will have to go to court and a judge will appoint someone to legally make those decisions for you. For any financial decisions, you can designate someone you trust to serve as your power of attorney or by placing your assets in a trust. You can appoint an agent to ensure that your medical and health care decisions are complied with through a document called an advance health care directive, or AHCD.

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