An attorney-in-fact is a nomination made within an estate planning document called a power of attorney.  The person making the power of attorney decides whom they would like to have make medical decisions and/or financial decisions for them in case they can no longer make decisions for themselves. 


A power of attorney, as with all estate planning documents, should be started as soon as one has a measurable asset base, injury, or serious medical diagnosis.  It is not just for wealthy people or those near retirement.  You can set up your power of attorney to be effective immediately, or it can "spring" into effect under specific circumstances.  There are many benefits to planning for adverse events that may occur during your lifetime, including avoidance of guardianship and court involvement should you become incapacitated, as well as being able to designate a specific person or agency to manage your affairs in the event of a disability. 


It is a good idea to consult with an attorney rather than depending on fill-in forms for these tasks to ensure that your document complies with state law and will be more readily accepted by financial and health care institutions.  Estate planning is an ongoing process.  As life progresses and goals shift, the estate plan should be reviewed and updated in line with those new goals. 


If you are looking for more information on the different types of estate planning documents you can execute, please visit

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