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What is a Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney typically is broken out into two major categories: finances and healthcare. The power of attorney gives someone you’ve chosen the ability to take care of your affairs, whether they be financial or healthcare related, in the event that you are unable to do so (e.g. illness or injury). The power of attorney can only be used while you are living.

Why Do I Need a Power of Attorney for Property (finances)?

If you are incapacitated by either illness or injury, a power of attorney allows you to transfer control over certain aspects of your finances and/or property to another person of your choosing. This document has the ability to grant someone extremely broad authority or can place limits to certain activities.

It is important to have these types of legal safeguards in place to protect you, your family and your interests in case something tragic should happen. Having a power of attorney can avoid the substantial expense, delay and hassle of waiting for the court to appoint someone to handle your finances.

Why Do I Need a Power of Attorney for Healthcare?

The importance of the power of attorney for healthcare (sometimes called a healthcare directive and generally includes a living will) is that you can outline the decisions to be made under certain conditions when you are unable to speak for yourself. This document is a plan your family can follow, offering some peace during that difficult time.

Without this document, your family will have to go to court to get the authority to make decisions for you. Along with the expense and delay, there can be a burden as they may not know what your wishes are.

This information is not intended to be a substitute for individualized legal advice. Please consult your legal advisor regarding your specific situation. Source: Pluymert, MacDonald, Hargrove & Lee, LTD