When it's time to plan your estate, something that must be done is the appointment of a power of attorney. The POA has several important jobs, but, most importantly, he or she can make all necessary decisions for you in the case that you can't due to illness or imminent death. Some POA appointments can continue to control parts of your estate and to take actions on your behalf after death if you indicate this in your will.
Anyone over the age of 18 should consider making an estate plan with a POA appointed. A POA can be beneficial for those in the military who will be deployed overseas or a great distance from home or can be beneficial to those with disabilities or progressive medical conditions.
Here are three reasons it's important to designate a POA.
1. The POA is appointed to make health decisions on your behalf.
The first reason to use a POA is to have someone who can make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so due to medical problems. For example, if you are in a car accident and are left comatose, someone with POA could be in charge of the medical decisions regarding your treatment. You can also talk to your POA about your end-of-life wishes, so the medical team knows if you are a "do not resuscitate" case or a person who wants all medical actions to be tried before accepting a diagnosis.
2. The POA can help control your estate's finances.
Before a person passes away, it can be the POA's job to control the estate's finances, paying out taxes and fees where necessary and making payments on bills. After a person passes away, the POA is normally disbanded, and an estate executor takes over. The POA can be named executor in the will, which is something to consider if you want the same person in control of your finances while you're living and after death.
3. The POA is applied when you need it most.
There are two kinds of power of attorney: general power of attorney and limited power of attorney. Each of these can be applied when you need them and not a moment before or longer than you want the POA to exist. With your attorney, you indicate the date for the power of attorney to start and finish. A limited power of attorney is a good idea if you don't want the POA to have unlimited control of your assets, while a general POA should be enacted if you want someone to direct all the decisions you would normally have to make.
If you're ready to appoint a POA, consider contacting a law firm to discuss what you need to do with an attorney experienced in estate planning.