What is the most important estate planning document? In our opinion, it is a power of attorney. Watch our video to find out why.

The Most Important Estate Planning Document

We believe the most important estate planning document a person can have is a durable power of attorney. A durable power of attorney is a document in which a person (the principal) grants another person (the agent or the “attorney”) the authority to act upon the principal’s behalf. In Louisiana, a power of attorney is also known as a mandate or Contract of Mandate. The Louisiana Civil Code sets out the regulations governing mandates in the state. According to Article 2994 of the Civil Code, a principal may confer general authority upon the mandatory to carry out all acts appropriate under the circumstances. The law does not require a mandate to be in a specific statutory form. You can sign a general mandate (power of attorney), authorizing the principal to deal with all your affairs in the event you become incapacitated or limit the mandate to specific matters such as selling a car or completing a tax return.

Louisiana law requires that a person be mentally competent at the time of signing a mandate. Often by the time a person needs an agent to act on their behalf through a power of attorney, they are already not competent to handle their financial matters. In the event a person is not capable of signing a power of attorney, an interdiction would have to be filed. More information on interdictions can be found here.

A detailed power of attorney must be one of your estate planning documents. Talk with you friends, family, and other loved ones and take this preventative measure to assure peace of mind to all.