There is no one on earth whom you trust more than your spouse. You share everything together — the good and the bad. So, when it comes time to appoint a power of attorney in case you become incapacitated, you each intend to name one another as your respective powers of attorney.
This is a really bad idea, however. Read on to see why.
The many ways that can go wrong
Naturally, your concerns aren’t that your spouse would suddenly take off for Tahiti with your life’s savings and leave you bed-bound and broke. However, it is quite possible that the same event that incapacitates you, (for example, a serious car wreck in which you are both victims) could also incapacitate or even kill your spouse.
Think about it. This is your travel buddy and co-pilot. If you and your spouse both suffer devastating injuries, who will be able to take the reins and assume responsibility in the aftermath?
Spouses of similar ages can suffer the same health issues
Frequently, elderly couples get into trouble because both suffer from the effects of dementia, leaving neither person capable of handling their joint or separate affairs. The courts may have to step in and appoint a stranger to serve as a guardian even though this person has no idea of what either of you wants to occur under those circumstances.
Then, too, if you are too ill or incapacitated to act on your own behalf, your loving spouse might be too overcome with grief to make the best choices for both of your futures.
So, who should you appoint as your power of attorney?
There is no right or wrong answer to this common conundrum. Addressing your concerns with an estate planning attorney can clarify your options and help you seek the right solution.