Estate Planning 101: Powers of Attorney

The Bird’s Eye View:

In part one of our estate planning series, we’re talking with attorneys Chris Gaughan and Casey Connealy about powers of attorney. Do you need a power of attorney, how are they used and what are some common misconceptions?


Your Guide:

Welcome to part one in our series on estate planning. On this episode of Your Retirement Elevated podcast with Scott Dougan, we’ll explain some issues, opportunities and mistakes in estate planning, especially with powers of attorney.

Our guests today are Chris Gaughan and Casey Connealy, with Gaughan & Connealy Estate Planning Attorneys.

“A lot of people think estate planning is just, ‘Hey, what happens when I die? Do I need a will? Do I need a trust? How will my family get my assets?’” said Casey. “Estate planning really starts before that. If you get sick, you get disabled, somebody needs to make decisions for you.”

The thing people hear about most often is powers of attorney.

Two common types of powers of attorney

1) Financial power of attorney, also known as property or general power of attorney

You allow someone to deal with your financial issues if you’re sick or hurt or unavailable.

2) Medical power of attorney, also known as durable health care power of attorney

You allow someone to make medical decisions for you if you’re hurt, sick or can’t communicate.

If you don’t have power of attorney

So, what if you don’t have this set up? You’ll encounter the dreaded “P word” – probate, or living probate. There are some common misconceptions with this, and it’s important to know that spouses and adult children do not have automatic rights.

“Many people believe, ‘If I get sick, my spouse will make this decision. If I can’t do it myself, my son will go to the bank and pay my bills for me,’” said Casey. “Unless there’s something written down showing you want that to happen, they don’t have any legal right to do that.”

During this episode, Chris and Casey also share:

  • Common misconceptions about power of attorney and why they’re wrong
  • The validity of power of attorney
  • Why you must have copies of your power of attorney handy
  • Who should have a power of attorney

Listen to the full episode or use the timestamps below to find specific segments.

[1:33] – What is estate planning?

[2:35] – Two types of powers of attorney

[4:09] – If you don’t have power of attorney

[6:13] – What if you do have power of attorney?

[10:19] – Misconceptions about power of attorney

[13:36] – Validity of power attorney

[15:12] – Make sure you have copies

[16:44] – Who should have a power of attorney?

Thanks for checking out the Your Retirement Elevated Podcast. We’ll talk to you again on the next show.


Your Guide:

Home Insight About Scott

Scott Dougan, RFC, Investment Advisor – Contact