When you settle on an estate plan, you should think not only about what happens after you die but also beforehand. Some elements, such as power of attorney documents, may come in handy while you are still alive.
What does a power of attorney do, and what might you need it for? Learn more about the protections and rights afforded under this type of document.
What does a power of attorney do?
You have legal control over yourself and your belongings. A power of attorney takes those rights and shifts them to someone else. It allows another person you designate to make decisions and act as you would.
When do you want one?
A power of attorney designation comes into play if you cannot think or act on your behalf. This may come after a car accident incapacitates you or a degenerative disease renders you unfit to make financial or medical decisions for yourself. As soon as you can no longer act for yourself and in your interests, a power of attorney may assume control of your medical care and finances.
Who should you choose?
Granting your legal authority to someone else does not have to feel overwhelming or daunting. The alternative is that you do not take care of this choice now, and it falls to someone else you may not necessarily want in that position. Choose someone who you believe will follow your other directives for medical care. Remember that you may need to change these designations throughout your lifetime as necessary.
Making these difficult choices now will help ease the burden on your family in the future. You want to prepare them, and yourself, for the inevitable.