There are many people who feel uncomfortable with the very concept of powers of attorney. These estate planning documents allow testators to name another party to manage their affairs while they are still alive.
Powers of attorney take effect in the event of someone’s incapacitation. The people you name to act on your behalf could utilize that authority if you end up in a coma after a stroke or experience cognitive decline because of a condition like Alzheimer’s disease.
You can limit the use of such authority by creating very strict limitations, and such limitations can help resolve the reservations you may have about empowering someone to act on your behalf. Learning the main benefits you can secure could also help. How do powers of attorney protect the people who create them?
They prevent health care and financial difficulties
The longer you experience medical incapacitation, the more likely you are to need someone to act on your behalf. Being unconscious for a day or two may not have much impact on your personal life, but a coma that lasts for three months could lead to your eviction or the foreclosure of your home.
Financial powers of attorney can authorize someone to pay your bills or otherwise manage your financial needs. Medical powers of attorney can give someone else the necessary authority to approve or decline certain forms of medical treatment on your behalf. By having someone already appointed to manage those matters for you, you can avoid a scenario where you receive healthcare that violates your religious beliefs or where your finances go into arrears because of an emergency.
They can protect you from guardianship
Older adults or those with severe injuries who become permanently incapacitated may benefit from powers of attorney because they can effectively name their own guardians. Without the proper directives in place, an individual declared incompetent by the courts may be subject to involuntary guardianship. They will have no control over who assumes authority over their affairs.
Durable powers of attorney help ensure that you have a say in who provides your care and who manages your affairs when your medical condition prevents you from advocating on your own behalf. Adding all of the right documents to your estate plan will provide you with peace of mind now and also practical support later in life when you experience some kind of medical emergency.