How To Make Decisions After Incapacitation With A Power Of Attorney

At any point in your life, you might want to decide what will happen to your affairs if you are not able to manage them yourself. For example, you might become injured or incapacitated in some way and may need someone to make decisions on your behalf. You should speak with an estate planning attorney about granting a power of attorney.

Who Should Be Granted a Power of Attorney?

You may want a spouse, parent, child, or even a close friend to have the power of attorney. By doing so, that individual will be able to act in your best interests. What's most important is not your relationship but whether you trust the individual. 

How to Know if You Need One?

The first step is to speak with an estate planning attorney. Everyone has their own unique financial goals and you may need a tailor-made solution. Once you have decided, you will sign a legal document to grant the power of attorney. You must be mentally competent, so you won't want to wait too long in case you later suffer from cognitive decline.

You will need a witness, your power of attorney document will need to be notarized, and the document must be in writing. However, the requirements can be different in other states.

What Options Are Available?

You'll also want to speak with an estate planning attorney about your options when you sign a power of attorney. For example, to ensure that the other party is able to act on your behalf, you'll need a durable power of attorney. This is because a non-durable power of attorney will be revoked the moment that you become incapacitated.  Then, the courts will appoint someone as your guardian to watch over you. This process is time-consuming and the guardian may not be who you wanted. Also, the time it takes may impact your financial affairs being managed.

You also are allowed to have different types of agreements. For example, one document might give a party power to sell a piece of real estate, while another document may give a separate party the right to make medical decisions on your behalf.

Regardless of the type of power of attorney you choose, you will be able to make changes at any time. However, you will need to notify the relevant parties when you make these changes because they will otherwise be able to rely on the old legal document.

To learn more, contact an estate planning attorney.