The idea of giving someone else control over your finances and medical decisions may not appeal to you. Giving up your personal sovereignty and entrusting your health and financial well-being to someone else requires a lot of faith in that person’s decency.
Concerns about that loss of autonomy can prevent some people from creating a power of attorney as part of their estate plan. What they don’t understand is that a power of attorney actually gives them more control and protection.
How a power of attorney upholds your wishes
In a situation where someone needs a power of attorney, they won’t be able to speak or act for themselves. The people that they named in their power of attorney documents will have restricted authority to perform certain actions on their behalf.
Without a power of attorney, there may not be anyone to perform those tasks, leading to financial hardship or even lapses in medical care. Having documents in place in case you need them ensures you decide who acts on your behalf and what restrictions apply to their authority.
In a situation where someone suffers long-term or permanent incapacitation, even those power of attorney preferences may wind up set aside by the courts. How can you ensure that you have a say in the people handling your care after severe incapacitation?
A durable power of attorney persists when others end
There are usually three situations in which a power of attorney document no longer has authority. The first is when the individual who created the document dies. The second is if that person recovers and is able to resume making their own financial and medical decisions. The third scenario involves the courts determining that an individual does not have testamentary capacity anymore.
A standard power of attorney will lose its authority if you can no longer make your own legal decisions. Thankfully, you can round out your estate plan with a durable power of attorney. Unlike standard powers of attorney, a durable power of attorney persists as long as you remain alive, even if you experience permanent mental incapacitation.
A durable power of attorney lets you choose your own guardian in a scenario where you become dependent on others. Especially for those with a family history of long life spans or cognitive decline in later years, a durable power of attorney can be a crucial tool for care later in life.