No matter how much we try, we cannot predict the future. The best we can do is to prepare for it. If you are at any point unable to manage your assets and affairs, you will want someone in charge of all of these things whom you have chosen and that you know has your best interests in mind. When someone is in the position of legally making decisions on behalf of another, they are known as having power of attorney.
A power of attorney is just a legal document. It provides a person of your choosing with the ability to act in your place should you ever be unable to do so yourself. There are a few forms of a power of attorney and they all have specific roles to perform.
Financial Power of Attorney
By giving someone financial power of attorney, you have given them the ability to make legal decisions regarding your finances on your behalf. One of the convenient aspects of this is that you can give them as much or as little power as you want. In some situations, people will give another person power of attorney to make a single transaction. After that transaction has been made, that individual no longer has power of attorney.
Many people will give a trusted individual power of attorney over the whole of their finances. This allows the chosen person to make any financial decisions on the behalf of the person who gave them the power of attorney. Couples will often do this to allow their spouse to make decisions while one of them is out of the immediate area.
The process of creating a power of attorney is generally just a matter of filling out a couple government forms. Some banks and financial institutions will also facilitate this process. The documents will need to be signed in front of a notary and witnesses may be required, depending on the state in which you are signing the document. A similar process is required when giving someone medical power of attorney.
Medical Power of Attorney
You can also provide someone will medical power of attorney, which allows them to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to make those decisions yourself. To do this, you must meet certain requirements. You must be a legal adult, of sound mind and a full understanding of what the document means.
If you do go through the process of making someone your medical power of attorney, you will most likely want to make them your durable power of attorney.
Durable Power of Attorney
The term “durable” can be applied to both financial and medial power of attorney. This means that the person of your choosing retains their power of attorney after you have been found to lack the capacity to make financial and medical decisions on your own as a result of injury, illness, etc. Any of these powers of attorney can be revoked at any time, provided you are of sound mind.
Having someone you trust in the position where they can care for you and your assets if you are unable to do so can provide substantial peace of mind. If you find that you have any additional questions, you may want to consider seeking the services of a legal professional who is familiar with the subject.