Estate planning is not all about planning for your death. It also involves anticipating unforeseen eventualities like incapacitation. When you cannot act independently due to an accident or illness, a power of attorney document can come in handy.
Many assume their loved ones will automatically step in their shoes when something unexpected happens. However, it is easier said than done. Before someone else gets legal approval to act on your behalf, they must go through a rigorous court process. A power of attorney can save your loved ones such hassles.
How a power of attorney works
A power of attorney is a legal document that grants someone else the authority to act on your behalf. It means they can make decisions for you when you are not in the position to do that.
The person you choose to act on your behalf, known as an attorney-in-fact, can legally make financial and medical decisions for you. It all depends on the scope of authority you give them. You can also specify when they can begin acting on your behalf – immediately or upon your incapacitation.
Like all other legal documents, you must follow due process when drafting a power of attorney document to ensure its validity and enforceability.
Do not leave any loose ends
It’s important to note that a power of attorney is just one part of a comprehensive estate plan. Others may include a will, a trust, and healthcare directives. These estate planning instruments work together to ensure that your assets and property are managed and distributed according to your wishes after you are gone.
It is advisable to reach out for professional guidance on how you can come up with solid estate plans that will give you peace of mind and protect your loved one’s interests.