Powers of attorney serve a key role in someone’s estate plan. They allow a testator to designate someone to fulfill certain obligations or perform certain actions in the event of their incapacitation.
Some people feel an aversion to powers of attorney because they don’t like the idea of giving up any of their own legal authority. Exaggerated stories about the abuse of these documents in movies or murder mystery novels might make people unnecessarily suspicious of what is ultimately a powerful and useful estate planning document.
There are numerous reasons why you would benefit from the inclusion of powers of attorney in your estate plan.
You have specific medical preferences
You can draft a living will or advance medical directive discussing your medical wishes in the event of an emergency that leaves you incapacitated. Writing options on your preferences is important.
So too is filling out the necessary paperwork to empower someone to fill those wishes on your behalf. You may need someone to advocate for you if your medical preferences are contrary to what your spouse would like or what doctors insist upon during a medical emergency.
You have financial responsibility for your household
If you are the primary wage-earner for your family or the one who manages the household accounts, your loved ones would be at a disadvantage in the event of your incapacitation. They may not even have access to the accounts that you used to pay the bills.
Financial powers of attorney allow testators to name someone else to access their accounts or handle their financial matters until they recover or they die and their assets go through probate.
You want to protect your closest loved one
Yes, you want to name someone that you trust and know well to assume authority in the event of your incapacitation. Still, it is common for people to name someone other than their spouse or children to fulfill that role. Designating certain authority to other people can take the pressure off of your closest loved ones during an emergency that will undoubtedly affect their lives and decision-making.
The inclusion of powers of attorney in modern estate plans can protect not only the person who drafts the document but also the people who depend on them. Adding powers of attorney to your estate plan can give you peace of mind now and protection in the event of an emergency.