What is a Power of Attorney?
By using a power of attorney, you ( the “principal”) appoint an agent to act for yourself to handle your affairs.
Specifically, a health care power of attorney allows an agent to act on your behalf for health care decisions and a durable power of attorney enables an agent to make decisions on your behalf regarding your finances.
What about my financial affairs?
Your agent would take over on handling your finances whenever you would like (i.e., effectively immediately or only upon your incapacity).
It can be immediately, meaning that the agent can make any decision for you that you could make right now. This is often common for spouses and for children of elderly parents who struggle with mobility or have physical limitations.
On the other hand, the power of attorney can be drafted so that the agent can step on only when you are unable to. This could be for medical reasons or mental incapacity, travel, military duty.
What about my health affairs?
I draft a “Living Will & Patient Advocate Designation” document which serves two purposes:
The Living Will sets out your wishes regarding medical treatment and care should you become incapacitated and cannot make these decisions.
The Patient Advocate Designation (a.k.a health care power of attorney) designates an agent that will make your medical decisions.
Who should have powers of attorney in place?
Everyone should have these in place once they turn 18. Regardless of health or danger in employment, anyone can end up in a situation where he or she needs someone else to make those decisions. Also, make sure to keep it updated as your relationships with these people can easily change over the years.
Contact me to set up an appointment to meet with you to discuss your estate planning objectives.