POWERS OF ATTORNEY
Durable Financial Power of Attorney
A Durable Financial Power of Attorney just might be the most important document you can execute. To avoid the risk of going through the need for a legal guardian, a Durable Financial Power of Attorney allows you to name someone, such as a spouse, child, or sibling to make financial decisions for you if ever you cannot make them for yourself. The person you name as your Agent will be able to access any accounts or assets that you own and make decisions in your place.
Not all Durable Financial Powers of Attorney are created equally. If you need your Agent to act for you, but your Power of Attorney does not authorize him or her to make the specific decision that is necessary, you will end up back in the Guardianship arena. It is important to establish a Power of Attorney that will accomplish all the goals you have. There are many freely accessible documents on the internet that purport to handle all your affairs when the need arises. Be aware that these quick fixes are probably not going to be powerful enough for your loved ones to use if you are ever in a crisis. A solid Durable Financial Power of Attorney could be the difference between whether your family has the legal authority to preserve any of your assets from a long-term care health crisis.
Durable Healthcare Power of Attorney
While you are healthy and of sound mind, you have the right to make any healthcare decisions for yourself that you want. But what happens if you become incapacitated or have a cognitive impairment that prevents you from acting on your own behalf? A Healthcare Power of Attorney is designed to appoint another individual to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to for yourself. As with financial decisions, if you do not have an Agent named through a Healthcare Power of Attorney, you will be brought before a court and a legal guardian will be appointed.
It is worthwhile to have a conversation with the parties you name as Healthcare Power(s) of Attorney, so they will be able to follow your judgement and make decisions for you the way you would make decisions for yourself.
Powers of Attorney are a core foundation of a proper estate plan. Make sure you have a plan to address the risks you could face while you are still living, and not just focusing on what happens to your assets when you pass away.