Although powers of attorney offer protection to those incapacitated by illness or an injury, not enough people include them in their estate plans. Many people have a negative reaction to the idea of assigning power of attorney to others.
However, drafting powers of attorney can help someone protect themselves and their family members when the unexpected happens. In the event of a medical emergency that causes your incapacitation, powers of attorney can help ensure that you have a say in who manages your household or makes your medical decisions.
A durable power of attorney persists into incapacitation
With the right language in power of attorney documents, they continue to hold authority even when you no longer have the mental capacity to enter into binding agreements with others.
A financial power of attorney will allow someone to pay your bills, manage your business or access your financial accounts. A medical power of attorney can give someone the authority to have a say in the care you receive.
If you don’t have documents in place before your incapacitation, then the courts may decide to name someone as your guardian. That person will have control over most aspects of your life and no guidance from you. By drafting documents ahead of time, you get to choose that person yourself and provide them with directions regarding what you would expect them to do on your behalf.
Rather than leaving everything to chance in the event of an emergency, you can plan ahead to protect yourself, your financial stability and your wishes in the event that you cannot communicate with others.
Powers of attorney have no authority until you need them
One reason people claim that they delay or decline to create powers of attorney is concern that the person they empower will use that authority while they are healthy.
The limitations on powers of attorney effectively prevent that from happening. Only in a situation where you cannot act on your own behalf will those documents give someone else a say in your medical care or access to your financial resources.
Adding the right paperwork to your estate plan now can protect you in an unpredictable world.