Getting started on your estate plan may have you thinking about how you want your property distributed after death, how your family will get on without you and numerous other aspects that could relate to your demise. However, when creating this type of plan, you may want to remember that it can also prove useful before your death, especially in the event that you become incapacitated.
Incapacitation could happen for a number of reasons. Some causes include mental deterioration, severe illness or serious injuries resulting from an accident. Though most people think of elderly individuals needing round-the-clock care, you could find yourself in this predicament at any age. As a result, you may want to consider appointing a trusted individual to act on your behalf before the need arises.
Power of attorney
If you end up in a situation in which you cannot make decisions for yourself, you undoubtedly want someone whom you trust in charge of your affairs. Luckily, you can utilize a power of attorney document in order to appoint a person yourself. However, this appointment goes beyond simply naming an individual, as you can also dictate how much power this party has and for what decisions.
In most cases, individuals appointed as power of attorney agents can either have responsibility over medical decisions, financial decisions or both. This detail means that you could appoint a single person or entity to handle all of your affairs or you could name different people or entities for each area.
Choosing your candidates
You may want to remember that appointing someone as a power of attorney agent causes that person to take on a great deal of responsibility. He or she will need to act in your best interests and potentially have to make life or death decisions. Therefore, you will certainly want to discuss the possibility of taking on this role with your potential candidates before making your appointment. This step will allow the individual or individuals to have a say in whether they feel comfortable taking on the position.
Creating your power of attorney document
Your power of attorney appointment can coincide with other areas of your estate plan. However, as mentioned, you will likely need to go beyond simply naming a person to the role. You may want to include specific details regarding when the person has authority to make decisions for you and how that authority should be used. Because the details of this appointment can play a major role in your future care, you may wish to consult with an attorney to ensure that your documents are in proper order.