Imagine a scenario where you are suddenly unable to make decisions for yourself due to illness, injury, or even a prolonged absence. Who would handle your financial matters, make medical decisions on your behalf or manage your legal affairs?
It happens all the time. Even someone who is young and healthy can end up in an accident that leaves them incapacitated, and older people can suddenly experience profound declines in their health.
This is where a power of attorney can help. A power of attorney gives someone you designate the legal right to “step into your shoes” and make decisions on your behalf. That can eliminate a lot of uncertainty and make sure that any previously expressed wishes you have are respected.
You can have more than one
If you’re comfortable putting everything into the hands of one person, you can do that. You can also divide up the authority between more than one person. It’s not uncommon to have one person act as your power of attorney for financial matters and another act as your power of attorney for health care matters.
You can limit their authority
It’s also possible to make the power of attorney contingent upon a specific future event, such as your incapacity due to illness or injury. In those situations, your power of attorney designation can “spring” into effect. It will then remain active until you either revoke it or pass away.
Estate planning is about far more than simply deciding what happens to your worldly possessions when you’re gone. It’s also about looking ahead and trying to plan for all potential futures – including those where you cannot speak for yourself.