Most adults assume that they’ll always be able to make decisions for themselves, but there may come a time when you’re incapacitated. Planning for this possibility is part of having a comprehensive estate plan.
You can give someone your powers of attorney to take care of your affairs if you ever become incapacitated. There are two areas that you need to think about: health care and finances. The same person can have both types of powers of attorney, but you can also give these to two different people if you so desire.
What is a medical power of attorney?
A medical power of attorney makes health care decisions for you. They work closely with your medical team to make these decisions and are supposed to follow your wishes. One important note is that your medical POA can’t go against your advanced directives. These are written instructions you provide to your care team in advance, that are designed as guidelines for your care. Your POA is only there to fill in the gaps for whatever might not be expressly covered.
What is a financial power of attorney?
A financial power of attorney takes care of your money matters. They can pay your bills, buy assets, sell things and make any decisions you’d normally make about your finances. They can only do these duties until you pass away. When you die, the financial POA ends and these duties will go to the estate administrator.
It’s a good idea to talk to the people who you give powers of attorney. They should understand your wishes and be willing to upkeep those even if they go against their own preferences. You also want to make sure that they’re willing to accept the responsibilities involved.
A comprehensive estate plan is important, especially for parents who have minor children. Making sure that it outlines your wishes precisely can help to care for your children after you pass away. Remember to review the entire plan periodically to ensure it clearly conveys your wishes.