What will happen to your affairs if you become incapacitated and can no longer communicate your wishes? Unfortunately, if you are not prepared for such an event, your family may be stuck in a sticky situation trying to figure out how to best manage your affairs without your guidance. This is where a power of attorney can come in handy.
What is a power of attorney?
- This is a legal document that grants someone you choose the power to act for you when you are unable to make important decisions or care for your needs. If you ever become mentally incapacitated, you will need a ‘durable’ power of attorney, which will cover your obligations and finances.
What power is given through power of attorney?
- The trusted person you name will be legally permitted to handle your important matters, such as paying your bills, managing your investments, or choosing the type of medical care you should receive, if you are unable to do so for yourself.
When should you create a power of attorney?
- You should make this document as soon as possible, because if something happens to you, your family members may have to go to court in order to get the authority to handle your affairs which can be very expensive compared to preparing a power of attorney.
Is a durable power of attorney all I need?
- A durable power of attorney will cover your financial and medical affairs together, but you may wish to create a separate health care power of attorney. Talk to your attorney to see what your situation requires.
What is a health care power of attorney?
- This document will set out your wishes for health care, and will appoint a trusted person to oversee that your wishes are carried out, or to make decisions for you if you are unable. When arranging your medical care, your agent is legally bound to follow the treatment preferences you left to the extent that they are aware of them.
Should I appoint someone who has financial knowledge?
- You should appoint someone you trust and whom you know has your best interest in mind. They don’t necessarily need to be a financial expert. They can always hire a professional to help them out if you give them permission to use your assets to do so.