We all do it.
We put off planning for the future.
We are too tired.
We are too young.
Nothing bad is going to happen to us anytime soon.
Our jobs are too demanding.
The kids are involved in too many activities.
We have a will and that's enough.
And excuse after excuse after excuse.
A power of attorney is something we should all consider having, even if we don't do any other estate planning documents. A power of attorney or a POA is a legal instrument that grants a designated person the power to make decisions on behalf of someone else. In today's health crisis, it is even more important to have someone legally designated to make decisions on your behalf. A power of attorney can allow a friend or family member to handle anything from selling your house to making healthcare decisions on your behalf, to determining the best living arrangements should you become incapacitated or unable to make decisions for yourself.
If you do not have someone in place as your power of attorney, the Court could end up making decisions for you. If you are incapacitated because you are sick or in a coma, or are facing other issues that make you incapable of making decisions for yourself, a guardianship proceeding may be instituted on your behalf. A family member or friend, facility or hospital, can file a guardianship action to have you declared incompetent to make your own decisions and have a guardian appointed to make your decisions. With a guardianship, your private affairs are made public and you will have the Court making decisions for you.
There are different types of powers of attorney, and other nuances you will need to consider when having one put in place, but the important thing is that you decide to plan early. You want to make sure you are in control of your own future!