Aging, accidents and the protection of powers of attorney

| Jan 5, 2021 | Elder Law & Estate Planning

Perhaps you are nearing retirement age and beginning to consider what might happen if you are no longer capable of making health care or financial decisions. 

Aging brings new issues to manage. Then, too, there is always the possibility of a debilitating illness or accident. The powers of attorney you create will provide peace of mind in these instances. 

POA for health care

The purpose behind creating a power of attorney is to enable a trusted relative or friend to act on your behalf. For example, the POA for health care would enable this person, your agent, to make medical decisions in your stead if you are incapacitated and cannot act. This includes serious decisions about long-term or end-of-life care. Keep in mind that if you recover from your illness or injury, you simply take back the reins and return to managing your own health care. 

POA for finances

As with the health care POA, the agent of your choosing will make legal and financial decisions on your behalf. This could include anything from paying your monthly bills to managing your investments. This kind of POA is also good to have if you just need a little help with basic finances or want the opinion of your trusted relative or friend before making certain legal or financial decisions. 

Advance planning

While you are still active and your mind is clear, it is worthwhile to establish both a POA for health care and a POA for finances since the possibility of dementia increases with age. For powers of attorney to be legal, the principal must be mentally competent when signing the documents. Even if you never have a debilitating accident or illness or suffer dementia, knowing your powers of attorney are in force will give you considerable peace of mind.