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Setting up general or health care powers of attorney

When it comes to powers of attorney, the two basic types you'll consider are general -- often referred to as financial -- and health care. As the names imply, they do very different things, but both are centered around giving other people the power to make crucial decisions for you.

With a general power of attorney, property-related questions are addressed. If you're not able to take care of paying your own taxes, for example, another person can do it for you. Remember, just because your health has deteriorated doesn't mean the bills stop. You could have house payments, utilities payments, assisted living center charges, car payments, property taxes and much more. These all need to be taken care of on time, and the power of attorney helps ensure that they are.

A health care power of attorney focuses on medical and health-related decisions. What type of care do you want to get? Are there any types of care you'd rather avoid? If you communicate your wishes to someone else, you can give him or her the power to make choices as needed so that your wishes are followed.

In many ways, powers of attorney really become necessary when dealing with mental deterioration over time, perhaps due to dementia or other such ailments. You want to be prepared for a situation where you can't make your own decisions with your own best interests in mind. Since you're an adult, other adults can be barred from making decisions for you -- even when they are clearly just trying to help -- without being given legal permission first.

If you'd like to find out more about how these powers of attorney work, our website has a lot of helpful information.

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