You may have heard, while doing your estate planning, that you can use a medical power of attorney. This document appoints an agent to help make medical decisions if you are incapacitated and cannot do so on your own.

In the same way, you can use a legal power of attorney to choose another agent or to appoint the same person to work on both tasks. This document can give the person broad legal powers over you and your estate, or you can focus it on one specific event.

For example, maybe you know that someone needs to access your bank accounts to pay the bills and pay taxes. The agent you choose can get access when the bank would typically only allow you to withdraw money from the account.

Or, maybe you want to start selling property if you are incapacitated and unlikely to recover. Rather than leaving it for your heirs to do if you pass away, you could tell the agent to sell your home and liquidate other assets while you’re still alive. This way, the money can be used to help pay for the care that you need, or it can just get distributed to your heirs, making things simpler for them.

A legal power of attorney often relates to financial procedures and necessities but not always. You have a lot of options. You also want to remember that it can be completely separate from your medical power of attorney.

As you get your estate plan in place, make sure you understand all of your options and how to utilize them.