You may be enjoying family life as a young parent, or you may be looking forward to the onset of your retirement years.
What happens if you become incapacitated due to an accident? What happens if dementia clouds your retirement picture? Two power of attorney documents can help.
The POA for healthcare
By creating a power of attorney for healthcare, you give a trusted relative or friend the ability to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. Your agent’s authority would extend to making long-term care or end-of-life decisions for you.
The POA for finances
Similar to the healthcare POA, the POA for finances enables your trusted agent to manage your financial affairs if you cannot do so. This kind of power is also helpful for seniors who simply need help with day-to-day financial needs, such as balancing a checkbook or dealing with a Social Security payment issue.
Durable versus springing
There are two ways to put your POA documents in motion. A durable power of attorney becomes effective as soon as you sign it. However, with a springing POA, you name your agent but he or she does not have the legal authority to act on your behalf until a specific event occurs. The tricky part is specifying the kind of event that would activate the POA.
The decision to act
No matter what your age and circumstances, you need to prepare yourself and your family for the unexpected. Creating powers of attorney for both healthcare and finances is a good start. Remember that as long as you are mentally competent, you can revise or revoke your POAs at any time to keep pace with the changes in your life.