Most adults know their estate plan includes information about what needs to happen after they die. But, they don’t realize that there are parts of the plan that have to do with what will happen if they become incapacitated.
One important component of your estate plan is setting up powers of attorney designations. These allow a person of your choosing to act in your stead in pre-designated situations. Their authority would end when you pass away or when you’re able to make decisions on your own again.
Financial and health care power of attorney
You need to set up a financial power of attorney. If you’re incapacitated for any reason or simply unable to be someplace in person to manage your own financial affairs, this person can pay your bills and take care of your assets. They should be able to do things in accordance with your wishes or that are in your best interests. Remember, the person who has this power can buy and sell assets for you.
The health care power of attorney designation gives the person you designate the right to make medical decisions on your behalf. They can’t go against your advance directive instructions but can step in to make calls about your care that weren’t already addressed.
The people you choose for these roles should be people you can trust – and who can think clearly even during an emotional time. You can choose the same person for both designations or you can choose different people.
The power of attorney is only one component that you need to get set up as part of your comprehensive estate plan. Experienced legal guidance can help you tailor your entire plan to both your goals and your needs.