There is much more to consider when working toward a complete estate plan than just writing a simple will. You should also think about the estate planning tools that will continue to benefit you during your lifetime.
A power of attorney is one such item that every complete estate plan should include. This document grants a trusted individual the authority to manage your personal, financial, or business affairs if you become unable to do so, but the question remains as to when you should add a power of attorney to your will.
When you start your estate plan
It is never too early to name an attorney-in-fact, so it is a good idea to consider including a power of attorney from the moment you start estate planning. Even if you decide to be proactive about writing a will as early as your 20s, keep in mind that unforeseen events can happen at any time. You can always update or revoke your power of attorney documents at any time.
When you are nearing retirement
The years and months leading up to your planned retirement serve as a great window to revisit your estate plan or start one for the first time. This is also an ideal time to add or update your power of attorney documents, as you are likely to have more financial matters to consider than ever before. It is also an unfortunate reality that elderly individuals are more likely to fall ill or become incapacitated, making it all the more important to have appropriate measures in place.
As long as you have the ability to alter your estate plan, it is never too early nor too late to add a power of attorney. Doing so at your earliest convenience will ensure that you cover all your bases.