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Avoiding pressure over power of attorney

Wisconsin residents who are planning their estate often overlook a power of attorney. Such a document can be useful because it appoints someone to manage the principal's financial affairs in the event of incapacity. However, it is important that people do not feel pressured to name a particular person as the agent in this power of attorney or to grant certain powers to that agent.

People who create a power of attorney should be aware that in some cases, family members or financial professionals may try to take advantage of them. The principal should be particularly cautious about this power of attorney if it is someone else's idea in the first place. The principal should also be comfortable with what the power of attorney allows a person to do.

A power of attorney can be an important part of an estate plan, but it should not be rushed. A person who is concerned about feeling pressured might want to speak to another financial professional and get a second opinion. People can also ask their financial institutions to let them know if anyone requests documents such as powers of attorney or guardianships relating to their accounts.

Other aspects of estate planning should not be rushed into either. While it can be a difficult subject to tackle, the advantage of doing so when there is ample time means that people have time to discuss plans with family members and the reasons for making certain decisions. Furthermore, an estate plan can be changed over time as needed. Events like births or divorces may change the makeup of the family and lead to a change in wills, trusts, beneficiary designations and other estate planning documents. An attorney can often be helpful in performing a periodic review of existing documents.

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