Imagine that you have a family member that is getting very old, and as the years pass by, you can see that he or she just isn’t as healthy as they once were. It is a slow, and unfortunately inevitable, decline. Watching them in a hospital bed, you can’t help but wonder what they are thinking. Did they want it to end like this? Did they have protections and processes in place to dictate how their medical care should be handled if they become incapacitated?
This hypothetical situation highlights the importance of powers of attorney. Whether it is the power of attorney over finances of health care, these legal processes help someone fulfill their last wishes when they are incapacitated, or ensure that their affairs are taken care of when they are disabled.
With a power of attorney for healthcare, the individual in question will pass his or her decision-making to an agent or proxy when it comes to medical care decisions. That agent or proxy will be responsible for accepting or rejecting your medical treatments, your medical facilities, your medical personnel and many other facets of healthcare that you wouldn’t be able to decide in an incapacitated state.
Similarly, a power of attorney for finances allows someone to pass their financial decision-making power over to an agent or proxy. Matters such as paying bills, taxes and medical costs; managing accounts and investing properly; and operating a business you own can be done by the individual who holds your financial power of attorney.
For these powers of attorney to work, you have to create and organize them. Don’t enter your later years without powers of attorney established and prepared.
Source: FindLaw, “Help a Loved One Make a Power of Attorney,” Accessed Nov. 20, 2015