As you age and begin creating your estate plan, one of the things you may want to consider is who you want to grant power of attorney in the event that you become incapacitated or otherwise unable to clearly express your wishes on your own. Often, the person you choose for this role is someone in your own family, but this does not have to be the case as long as you appoint someone you believe you can rely on to make decisions based on your best interests.
There are two main types of power of attorney; a durable power of attorney for finances and a medical power of attorney.
The durable power of attorney
By granting someone durable power of attorney, you are essentially giving him or her decision-making power over your financial, legal and business interests. The “durable” part refers to the fact that this type of power of attorney remains valid even once you become incapacitated or disabled.
Giving someone you know and trust durable power of attorney over your business, legal and financial affairs can save your family and loved ones considerable time and stress. If you become unable to make decisions on your own behalf without giving someone power of attorney, your loved ones will not be able to make important decisions regarding finances, business interests and so on.
The health care power of attorney
A health care power of attorney, on the other hand, is similar to a durable power of attorney for finances in that it grants someone else decision-making power over your affairs. However, as the name indicates, this type of power of attorney grants someone else the power to make important decisions with regard to your health care. For example, if you are to fall into a coma, the person you give power of attorney for health care can make the decision as to whether medical professionals should continue to keep you alive by artificial means.
Giving those you trust powers of attorney can help ease your own concerns about aging and your future, but it can also help your loved ones avoid unnecessary trouble during what may already be an emotional and stressful time.