Powers of attorney authorize someone you trust to make decisions and take actions on your behalf. This can protect your interests if you become incapacitated and unable to communicate or make decisions on your own. For that reason, the experienced legal advisors at Anderson Estate Planning generally recommend including powers of attorney as an essential part of your plan.
Power of Attorney Can Help Avoid the Need for Guardianship Proceedings
Many people do not realize that a sudden illness or injury could leave their loved ones in a difficult position and powerless to help. Access to assets may be prohibited. Bills may go unpaid. Medical decisions can be delayed. Your family may be forced to initiate guardianship proceedings to gain authorization to handle your financial affairs or make health care decisions. Guardianship is an extreme measure because it strips individuals of their legal rights. Satisfying the court that guardianship is necessary requires a long and expensive process.
If you have powers of attorney authorizing someone else to make decisions on your behalf, your designated agent can step in and manage your affairs immediately if you become incapacitated. You do not lose your rights the way you would in a guardianship proceeding.
Financial Power of Attorney
Creating a financial power of attorney gives your designated agent authority to handle financial matters such as transferring funds and paying bills. You can give your agent broad powers to manage everything or limited powers to handle only certain types of transactions or access only specific accounts.
Your agent will gain considerable authority, so it is crucial to choose an agent you trust to be responsible and ethical. If you decide to revoke a power of attorney or change your agent, you are free to do so at any time as long as you are still considered legally competent. While your agent is sometimes referred to as an “attorney-in-fact,” they do not need to be an attorney or have any specialized training.
Medical Power of Attorney
A medical or health care power of attorney allows someone you trust to authorize treatment and make medical decisions for you when you cannot mentally or physically manage your own care. Like a financial power of attorney, a medical power of attorney may be altered or revoked.
Types of Power of Attorney Documents
A power of attorney is considered “durable” if it is created to remain in force when the principal person who granted the power becomes incapacitated. A non-durable power of attorney would only be of practical use for short-term situations, such as authorizing someone to handle business while you’re out of the country.
Your attorney can customize a power of attorney to fit your situation. You might want to limit the scope or duration of the authority granted. After reviewing your situation, your estate planning attorney can suggest options and formulate documents to meet your unique needs.
Find Out How an Estate Planning Attorney Can Protect You with Durable Powers of Attorney
Accidents or illnesses can strike anyone at any age. If you are prepared with durable powers of attorney, your loved ones can take care of matters on your behalf. However, the documents must be drafted carefully to be legally enforceable and convey your intended powers.The experienced team at Anderson Estate Planning is ready to help secure your future needs by creating power of attorney documents tailored for your situation. Schedule a consultation now to learn more.