No one expects to suffer debilitating injuries from a vehicle accident or to fall into a coma that could last indefinitely.
However, if the unexpected happens, your powers of attorney (POA) for healthcare and finances will provide the assistance you need. When is the best time to draft a POA?
A power of attorney allows the person you choose to act as your agent and make healthcare or financial decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so. A durable POA becomes active as soon as you sign it in your capacity as the principal. The POA for healthcare enables your agent to make medical decisions for you. The POA for finances gives your agent the authority to balance your checkbook, pay your bills, file your taxes and make financial decisions on your behalf.
Creating your documents
The earlier the better is the idea to keep in mind with regard to creating your healthcare and financial POAs. First, an accident or severe illness can strike regardless of age causing incapacitation. Second, the possibility of some level of dementia becomes a consideration as the years pass. You must be mentally competent to establish and sign a power of attorney document.
The proactive approach
Owing to circumstances beyond your control, you may not know your POAs have gone into effect and that your agent has stepped up to manage your healthcare and financial decisions. But your mind will be at ease once you create these documents, and should your care ever become an issue, your family will avoid the expense and complexities of obtaining guardianship.