As recent unfortunate events remind us, life can change in an instant. Having a Will in the event that tragedy strikes is a good start, but in reality, a Will is only one of three essential documents adults should have. The other two essential documents are a Power of Attorney for Health Care and a Power of Attorney for Property.
A Health Care POA allows you to designate someone (an agent) to make medical decisions for you in the event that you cannot. This allows your agent to access your medical records, speak to medical personnel, and authorize or decline treatment, just to name a few. It can also act as a substitute for a Living Will because it allows you to express your preference regarding issues such as organ donation and life sustaining care. A POA for Property works the same way, your agent can make financial decisions and transact business on your behalf. With this POA you can give your agent the power to take care of your finances, real estate matters, tax matters, borrow money, oversee retirement or other benefits, etc.
Of course, these forms can be downloaded for free from the internet, but you also get what you pay for! The free forms may provide the basics, but they often don’t address individual issues like specific religious beliefs regarding health care or allowing more than one agent to make decisions. Some banks may need specific language included in the POA for Property before they allow your agent to act on your behalf, especially when the property or assets are located out of state.
Depending on your circumstances, the costs for drafting customized Powers of Attorney are typically minimal. When you need them is the wrong time to find out that they don’t work. Contact us today to learn more.
**This blog does not constitute legal advice. Individual consultation with a licensed lawyer is recommended**