How can powers of attorney help if you become incapacitated?

On Behalf of | May 3, 2022 | Estate Planning

There are two main types of power of attorney you should consider when creating your estate plan.

A health care power of attorney permits someone to make medical decisions on your behalf. Not so much deciding what drugs or treatment you need, but explaining to the doctors the choices you would take if you were able to speak for yourself. 

It can be vital to avoid clashes between your family and companions over “What Jane would have wanted.” For example, “Jane would never have wanted to be kept on a life support machine” or “Jane would never have wanted to receive a blood transfusion from someone of that religion or race.” 

People can have some funny ideas about what you would want, so giving one person the health care power of attorney clarifies who you wish to speak on your behalf. If you think there will be problems, you can use an advanced directive to spell out any choices your family may find contentious.

Financial power of attorney

The key issue here is trust.  You do not want to wake up after being in a coma for the past two months to find the person you gave financial power of attorney has sold your house, emptied your bank account and disappeared to an unnamed Pacific island.

You can limit the consequences of a wrong choice by limiting the powers you give. For example, they can only access a particular bank account but cannot sell your house. Yet this could cause problems if you end up needing to access more funds or sell the house to pay for medical expenses.

Getting help to understand more about powers of attorney can ensure your estate plan will look after you if you become incapacitated.