Most people know that they need to give a plan for their assets when they die. This is done through the use of their will and trusts in an estate plan. What they may not think about is that they need to make some plans for what will happen if they become incapacitated.
A person who’s incapacitated can’t make decisions on their own. They’ll need someone to make those for them. You can determine who will do this if you establish a power of attorney. A power of attorney for health care gives the named person the ability to make decisions for you if you’re not able to make them on their own.
Characteristics of a power of attorney
Your power of attorney should be someone who lives close to you and can make decisions in your best interests. They must be able to stand firm on their decisions and not let others alter them. Ideally, you will discuss your needs and desires with the person so they know what you’d do if you could make the decisions yourself.
You also need to have an advanced directive in place. This puts many of your wishes in writing for the medical care team to follow. The person who has power of attorney for you will make choices about things not covered in that document.
The power of attorney designation is only one factor to consider when creating your estate plan. Once you have a comprehensive estate plan together, you will have peace of mind knowing that you’ve given your loved ones a plan to follow if you become incapacitated or pass away. Doing this sooner rather than later is beneficial for everyone.