Estate planning is not just about planning for your death. Planning for the unexpected, such as incapacitation due to a sudden illness or disease, is equally important. A lot may not work out as you intended if you are ill-prepared for such unforeseen eventualities.
A power of attorney (POA) document can help protect your interests when such unexpected life events happen. This legal document allows you to appoint or grant another person (known as an agent) the authority to act on your behalf and make decisions for you.
The importance of having a power of attorney
Without a POA, the court may need to appoint a guardian or conservator to make decisions on your behalf. It can be a time-consuming, expensive and stressful process for your loved ones. You can avoid the necessity of a court-appointed guardian by appointing someone to act in your place.
Additionally, a POA gives you some control over your affairs even if you are incapacitated since you can communicate your desires or wishes to your agent in advance.
Types of power of attorney
You can have an agent to represent your financial interests and another to handle your health or medical affairs. You can also specify when your agent can begin acting in their role. For instance, a springing POA can only be activated by your incapacitation, while a non-durable POA becomes active once you sign the document but ceases once you become incapacitated.
It is advisable to learn more about how a POA works before getting started to ensure you align everything with your objectives. Reach out for assistance if you have any questions or are unsure of what you need when getting started to ensure there are no loopholes that could scatter your future plans.