Powers of attorney are an important part of your estate plan. Below are answers to some of the most frequent questions I am asked about powers of attorney.
What is a power of attorney?
With the use of a power of attorney, you give legal permission and authority to another individual to act on your behalf. The “agent” or “attorney in fact” makes decisions for you when you are unable to make such decisions yourself.
What is a general durable power of attorney?
When you sign a general durable power of attorney, you are giving another person the legal authority to handle your finances when you are unable to do so yourself.
Your agent can do a number of things. This includes paying your bills, handling your daily expenses, making your needed purchases, investing your money, and more.
When naming the agent for this power of attorney, you will want to select someone you trust and who cares about you. They also need to have maturity, good financial management, and record keeping skills.
What is a power of attorney for health care?
The holder of a power of attorney for health care will have the legal authority to make medical decisions for you if you are ever unable to make your own health care decisions. This could be the most important document you ever sign. Not only will this person have the power to end your life, they will have the power to decide where you live, what types of medications you take, and what treatment you receive. Your agent will also have access to all of your medical records and be able to control your funeral and burial arrangements or make anatomic gifts or donations of your organs.
It is very important to have someone who you regularly communicate with and knows what your wishes are.
You need to choose an agent who loves and cares for you and has good communication skills since he or she will have to speak with medical professionals regularly to make sure your needs and wishes are met.
Why should I have a power of attorney?
A power of attorney gives you a form of control, even when you are unable to personally be in control. It is also very important to name an alternate for each of these documents in case the first person you choose is unable to act.
With the help of these trusted helpers, you will be assured that your finances and/or medical affairs are in order. If you don’t have a power of attorney your family may have to petition the probate court to appoint a conservator for you. Conservatorships are very expensive and detailed legal proceedings that you will want to avoid like the plague.
If you questions about selecting a power of attorney agent or want to create a power of attorney, please feel free to telephone our estate planning law office. We’d be happy to assist you and answer all of your questions. Please call us at 858-792-5988.
Helpful power of attorney articles
- How to Use a General Durable Power of Attorney
- 5 Powers of Your Health Care Power of Attorney
- Medical Power of Attorney FAQ
- What If You Become Sick and Don’t Have a Power of Attorney for Healthcare?
- How to avoid conservatorships by using general powers of attorney and powers of attorney for health care
- Powers of Attorney are Useless after Death