As an independent adult, you likely don’t want to put yourself in a situation where someone else has control over your money or your health care, as you likely realize that many people who would take such a position could do so because they have an ulterior motive. Protecting yourself from the bad intentions of others often necessitates carefully separating your resources from those of other people.
Of course, there will be situations in which you need the support of someone else. Although some people shy away from the creation of powers of attorney in their estate plans because they worry about people abusing that authority, many people would benefit from adding powers of attorney to their existing estate documents.
What benefits can you derive from adding powers of attorney to your estate plan?
Protection in an emergency
In a situation that leaves you hospitalized and unable to communicate, you would have very little control over the medical support that you receive. Perhaps you have deep personal beliefs related to your faith that prohibit you from receiving certain kinds of medication or blood transfusion.
Those procedures may be the recommended course of treatment in certain emergencies, and without someone acting as your agent due to medical power of attorney documents, healthcare providers may simply follow industry standards rather than your wishes. Especially when paired with a thorough advance directive explaining your medical wishes, medical power of attorney help ensure you receive the kind of medical support you believe is appropriate.
Financial support to prevent hardship
It is often concern about how people might abuse financial authority that deters people from creating powers of attorney. However, you can place very careful and specific limitations on financial powers of attorney to minimize the risk of someone abusing the authority that you grant them.
From limiting them to only having access to specific accounts to requiring that you remain incapacitated for a certain amount of time before they begin accessing your resources, there are many ways that you can drive the protection of having someone handle your financial need without giving them total control over your circumstances.
In a situation where you cannot make your own medical preferences known to others or where you could end up facing foreclosure or damage to your credit score because of missed payments, powers of attorney can be a crucial form of protection. Your powers of attorney could also help protect you from guardianship later in life if you create durable documents and designate people to handle matters on your behalf.
Integrating powers of attorney into your estate planning documents can protect you from receiving the wrong kind of medical care or from the financial hardship related to a personal emergency.