A power of attorney is a vital part of any estate plan. Through this document, an individual gives another person the right to act on his or her behalf, should he or she become incapacitated. A recent article discusses why everyone needs a power of attorney.
It is impossible to know when you may become injured, sick, or otherwise incapacitated and unable to tend to your financial and legal affairs or make medical decisions for yourself. By establishing a power of attorney, you give a person of your choosing the ability to pay your bills, manage your assets, and make important decisions concerning the medical care you receive. Parents of young children may also use a Power of Attorney to memorialize guardian wishes for their young children in the event of an incapacity.
Despite the importance of designating a power of attorney, most people have not done so because they believe that, should an accident occur, their family will be able to simply step in and make any necessary decisions. However, this is not always the case. Not only may a person’s loved ones argue about who should manage your affairs and how they should be managed, but they may not have the legal authority to take important actions on your behalf.
There are two types of power of attorney, one to designate the person who should make medical decisions for you, and the other to designate the person who should make financial decisions for you. Every individual should execute both.