Obtaining a power of attorney is an important part of long-term planning. Without one, there will be no one to manage your assets or health care decisions if you suffer from an illness that leaves you unable to manage your personal affairs. In that case, your family would have to petition a court to appoint a guardian. This can be a costly process.

You also want to consider creating a power of attorney because you can better ensure your wishes are followed if you appoint someone who understands what you want to accomplish with your property and life. Under a power of attorney document, the person who grants power is called the principal, and the person who acts on the principal’s behalf is called the agent.