Every adult should consider whether they need a power of attorney in place. A POA allows you to choose who will make decisions on your behalf if for any reason you are unable to.
Planning for incapacitation is hard to do while you are well, but like a will, a POA can protect your family if the worst should happen.
Choosing a POA
People often select their spouse or their children, but you may designate whomever you wish. There are no necessary qualifications; you can choose anyone you trust to make decisions for you.
Understanding the benefits of a POA
A power of attorney allows you to select who can make healthcare and financial decisions for you should you become incapacitated or unable to advocate for yourself. Emergencies are unpredictable, so having a POA today is often the best way to protect your future.
If you have not designated a POA and you need one, the court may appoint one on your behalf. This appointee may not be the same person that you would choose for yourself.
A POA can protect your children. For example, you can use a will to designate permanent guardians for minor children if you die. A POA can authorize your designee to care for your children while you are still alive but unable to do so.
If you worry about giving over control to someone else, you can limit the scope of responsibility and time period of your POA’s authority. For instance, you can assign a POA only for a certain transaction, such as the sale of your home, or for a period of recovery from a medical procedure. Regardless, utilizing a POA can provide peace of mind that a trusted party is in charge of your most important affairs.