Planning for the future isn’t always easy. There are many things to consider, and you’re probably not ready to think about them. You want to hold onto the belief that nothing is changing, even when you know how important it is to start planning early.
If you are incapacitated or otherwise unable to make decisions for yourself, a power of attorney (POA) can help. A POA is a legal document that assigns someone with the authorization to act on your behalf.
Medical power of attorney
A POA for healthcare is someone who can make medical decisions for you in case of an emergency. If you are critically injured or impaired, your healthcare power of attorney will have the right to carry out any of your medical wishes, especially if you are unable to make those decisions yourself due to your injury or illness.
Healthcare POA agents can:
- Choose which hospitals or medical facilities you should use
- Choose the doctors you work with
- Accept or deny certain medications
- Determine visitation rights
- Determine how to handle your body after death
- Access your medical records
You should set the terms and conditions of your medical power of attorney so that there are no misunderstandings for what your agent can or cannot do in your name.
Financial power of attorney
Your financial POA will have the right to manage your finances if you are incapacitated or cannot make financial decisions yourself. Your financial power of attorney agent will be able to handle any of your financial business according to your wishes.
Your financial agent will have the authorization to:
- Make financial decisions such as paying your bills and taxes
- Pay for any medical expenses
- Access your financial accounts
- Manage your real estate assets
- Sell or transfer your assets
It’s ideal to have both financial and medical POAs to cover all your bases for the future. No matter what happens, your power of attorney will respect your wishes when you are unable to voice them yourself.