Powers of attorney are documents too many people overlook when planning their estates. Some people feel uncomfortable about the idea of giving another person control over medical decisions or access to their financial accounts.
The idea that such documents lend themselves to abuse is common but not really founded in reality. Careful planning and appropriate terminology in your power of attorney will limit what authority it designates to someone else and the circumstances in which someone can use that power.
There are many individuals who might benefit from the creation of powers of attorney, particularly the three groups below.
Those who have just turned 18 or are about to go to college
When you become a legal adult, your parents lose authority over you. That includes losing the right to make medical decisions on your behalf.
Even in the event that you wind up in a coma after a car crash, your parents may not have access to your medical records, let alone the authority to decide what care you received. A medical power of attorney can make sure that your parents have the authority to act on your behalf in certain situations.
Those getting close to retirement age
As humans age, their risk for various medical conditions increases. The chances of them getting severely hurt if they get into a car accident also go up. When you are close to retirement, thinking about your possible future medical needs is a smart decision.
Not only can you give someone else the authority to take care of your medical decisions while you are vulnerable, but you may also be able to name the person who might become your guardian if you use the right language to make your power of attorney durable.
Those who own or operate businesses
Business owners and executives are often directly responsible for the management of their company and its daily operations. They may be the only person with access to certain information or control over crucial business banking accounts.
Having powers of attorney in place in case the executive or owner becomes incapacitated may be the only way to ensure that business operations continued while they remain hospitalized.
Deciding to integrate powers of attorney into your estate plan can offer protection if something happens that leaves you vulnerable but doesn’t kill you. Adding a power of attorney to your estate plan may give you and the people you love peace of mind.