Everyone eventually dies, which is why a will or trust is an absolute necessity in your estate plan. However, not everyone experiences cognitive decline when they get older or a period of incapacitation at some point in their life.
You never know if a head injury might put you in a coma or Alzheimer’s disease might render you unable to manage your own affairs. Although these situations only happen to a few people, they are very impactful when they do occur.
While powers of attorney may seem like documents that the average person doesn’t need, almost everyone will benefit from having powers of attorney in place in case they have some kind of medical emergency. How could powers of attorney help you?
They get you the right medical care
Every person has different preferences about medical treatments. Unless someone can speak to their own preferences, doctors will have to follow best practices as established by their professional organization or their employer.
Maybe addiction runs in your family and you don’t want narcotic pain relief. Perhaps you feel very strongly about life support. A medical power of attorney or advance health care directive will allow you to name someone to manage your medical choices and will give you space to provide instructions about the kind of care you would like to receive.
They help you get support for financial matters
You can also create a durable power of attorney so that there is someone you trust to handle your finances in an emergency.
Durable powers of attorney persist even when the courts declare you incapacitated, which means they continue to protect you from guardianship even if your medical issues are permanent. A financial power of attorney will not give someone access to your resources until your medical condition justifies them invoking that authority.
When you create those documents and integrate them into your estate plan, you protect yourself from an emergency where you might receive the wrong kind of health care or suffer serious financial consequences because you cannot manage your own affairs temporarily.
Exploring the various documents that you can add to your estate plan will maximize your protection and give you peace of mind in an unpredictable world.