It is paramount for people to make a durable and medical power of attorney when they are still young and all their mental faculties are intact. A power of attorney will give someone else the power to make medical and financial choices for you when you cannot make them independently. In the event that you delay making a power of attorney, then at some point, it may become too late. The process becomes much harder when a person loses his or her cognitive functions without a power of attorney in place. 

It is never too early to give someone power of attorney. In fact, you can help circumvent headaches down the line by giving a loved one, such as a spouse or child, this designation well before you actually need it. 

It is possible for the individual to still sign the necessary documents

In some cases, the person who has lost some mental or physical abilities may still be able to sign his or her name. Most courts will accept an “X” in lieu of an actual signature as long as witnesses saw the person agreeing to the terms of the document and understood what it entailed. Additionally, the person may be able to request someone else to sign on his or her behalf. Again, witnesses need to be present or else the document will not hold up in court. 

The court will need to establish someone as the individual’s guardian

When someone becomes incapacitated without a power of attorney, the family will need to give the individual a guardian through court. First, the court will need to determine that the person is, in fact, unable to make his or her own decisions and that a guardian is essential. This can either be straightforward or more complicated, depending on the mental faculties of the person. This is also hard on the family because they have to determine whom the person would want as a guardian. Ultimately, it is in everyone’s best interest to create a power of attorney early on in life.