What does the future hold? No one can say with any certainty. We can hope for the best and plan for the worst, as they say, but we never really know what will happen.
This is why you may want to add a power of attorney to your estate plan. The rest of your plan is fairly inflexible, but a power of attorney gives you the option you need when the unexpected happens.
There are 2 main types
You can use two main types when looking to draft a power of attorney, and many people use both. You can have a medical power of attorney or a legal/financial power of attorney.
Either way, the goals are the same. The powers of attorney allow the people that you choose as your agents — you do not have to pick the same person for both — to make your decisions when needed. They are granted similar legal powers to you.
For instance, if the doctors need to know what medical treatment to provide, your agent can tell them and authorize it. If someone needs to sell your home or pay your taxes, your agent can do it on your behalf.
Why would you need this?
You can do all of this on your own right now, and you may be able to do so until the very final day of your life. That’s wonderful if it happens, but remember that a power of attorney allows you to plan for an unexpected future.
What if things change? In the process of aging, for instance, you develop dementia. This is a degenerative disease and you can’t cure it. As it gets worse, you may no longer have the cognitive ability to make your own legal and medical decisions or to take financial action on your own behalf.
Without a power of attorney, determining who can make these decisions gets complicated. With one, though, you know you’re in good hands and that a trusted agent is looking out for your best interests.
Setting up your paperwork
If you’re doing your estate planning, you may want to consider a power of attorney and look into the legal steps needed to set it up.