A power of attorney is a useful estate planning document to give someone else control. For example, a financial or legal power of attorney would allow someone to do things like accessing your financial accounts or selling your home. A medical power of attorney would allow them to work with doctors to make decisions, such as if you should be kept on life-support.
Both of these documents are useful because you may become incapacitated unexpectedly. A power of attorney ensures that someone is in line to make critical decisions when they are needed most. Medical decisions often have to be made very quickly, so it’s helpful to have an agent in place who already understands what you would want and who respects your best wishes.
When does it take effect?
One concern that people sometimes have is that they don’t want to give someone else power over them. They still want to make their own decisions. But you don’t have to worry about this with a springing power of attorney. It doesn’t actually kick in until certain events take place or conditions are met.
Generally speaking, these documents are set up to go into effect if an individual has become incapacitated. This could mean many different things, but it usually means they either lack the mental ability to make their own decisions or they may be physically incapacitated so that they cannot do so. For instance, someone who had a stroke may still be unconscious in the hospital, and that’s when the agent takes over and helps with the medical treatment that they receive.
Legal guidance can help you get your estate plans in order
As you can see, there are many estate planning tools that can be very useful in the future. Just make sure you know what steps to take as you set up your plan.