Every adult has their own unique relationships and financial responsibilities that determine what kind of estate planning support they require. Oftentimes, the primary focus during the estate planning process is providing adequate support for dependent family members.
However, it can be equally important for someone to consider what will happen if they experience a medical emergency in the future. Powers of attorney are often key elements in comprehensive estate plans intended to protect someone not just from anxiety about what will happen to their loved ones if they die but also from different kinds of hardship in the event of a medical emergency.
Why do people choose to add powers of attorney to their estate plans?
1. They want to avoid guardianship
If someone experiences a lengthy medical incapacitation, other people could ask the courts to grant them guardianship. Those who have already created durable powers of attorney typically won’t have to worry about such proceedings as they will have already named someone to handle that responsibility for them.
2. They want to take the pressure off of loved ones
Even if someone has a spouse, they may not like the idea of their spouse making all of the difficult decisions about their health care and having sole responsibility for their household financial situation.
Individuals who execute powers of attorney can name someone other than their spouse to provide support in an emergency which will take the pressure off of the person most deeply affected by the situation. It can also help people protect themselves from a scenario in which their spouse ends up injured or dying at the same time they become incapacitated, such as a major car crash.
3. They have specific financial needs
There are scenarios in which someone may recognize that their immediate family members may not be capable of handling their financial matters. The more detailed someone’s preferences are and the more complicated their financial circumstances, the harder it may be for a spouse or family member to handle their affairs.
Naming someone with experience managing financial matters or access to certain resources, like business accounts, as the agent in the financial power of attorney can help ensure that there are still resources to provide for someone’s family and their care when they experience incapacitation.
Understanding the potential benefits of adding powers of attorney to an estate plan can help people to better protect themselves and their loved ones with the assistance of a legal professional.