Powers of Attorney are vital to incapacity planning.
Estate planning is not just planning for your death.
It also involves planning for incapacity.
These are not accomplished through a last will and testament.
Contrary to popular belief, a will only takes effect upon your death.
You need more.
You need powers of attorney.
According to a recent Lubbock Avalanche-Journal recent article titled “Five common myths about powers of attorney,” there are a few key things to know about this important legal instrument.
First, you should know there is more than one type of power of attorney.
These may be different by state and by purpose.
It is vital to work with an experienced estate planning attorney to make sure you have the right ones to accomplish your goals.
For example, take the general durable power of attorney for financial decisions and the durable power of attorney for health care decisions are functionally different.
The first allows an agent to act on your behalf in regard to your finances.
The latter grants the ability to make medical decisions.
As with all legal instruments, you need to sign them while you still have the mental capacity to do so.
Do not procrastinate.
You may think you need to be elderly to have a power of attorney.
This is false.
Advancing age is not the only cause of incapacity.
Illness or injury can strike suddenly, without regard to age or station in life.
Do not assume a relative will be able to have the necessary decision-making authority simply based on family relationship.
This, too, is a false assumption.
You will save them time and frustration by having these legal instruments in place now, so them may act on your behalf later.
Reference: Lubbock Avalanche-Journal (March 15, 2019) “Five common myths about powers of attorney”