Be Smart and Prepared When Life Happens Via a Power of Attorney

This article is part of the Professional Advisor Insights series.

We all know that life can change in an instant. One day we’re enjoying a family vacation or paying our bills. The next finds us in an emergency room, incapacitated by an accident or illness, perhaps even unconscious.

When people don’t establish a Power of Attorney (POA), avoidable and costly complications can arise.

A vacation in particular can be unexpectedly life-changing as people are exploring and venturing out to unfamiliar places. This is prime time for a sudden twist of fate.

Most of us don’t like to think about this. It’s grim to consider what might happen if we could no longer take care of routine matters, much less make significant decisions. Which is why creating a POA is not only essential, but also brings peace of mind.

Absent an existing POA, the costs and delays of setting up a guardianship can compound an already difficult situation. That’s why we are here to say: “Just do it!”

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What is a power of attorney?

A power of attorney (or letter of attorney) allows you to designate a person or organization to handle your legal, financial, or health care matters if you’re unable to take care of them yourself.

To illustrate, let’s imagine a few scenarios in which a POA is MIA.

Establishing a Power of Attorney is relatively simple, considering the consequences of not doing so. We encourage everyone to contact their attorney to discuss this smart estate planning tool.

About Paul J. Hynes, CFP®

Paul HynesPaul Hynes is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) and financial advisor with more than 30 years of experience. Paul is the founder, President and CEO of HearthStone | Private Wealth Management, a fee-only investment advisory and financial planning firm based in San Diego, California. Learn more at

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