A Power of Attorney is a legal document that gives you the right to make medical and financial decisions for a terminally ill or impaired loved one who is unable to make those decisions.
There are different types of powers of attorney. There could be springing powers or conditional powers that don’t take effect until someone is incapacitated. But more often, powers of attorney are in effect as soon as they are signed.
If you have given someone power of attorney over your affairs and they are not using it properly or you don’t want them to have it any more, you can do a revocation. That is, you can take back that authority as long as you are competent and capable and can understand what you are doing. Then you may revoke the power at any time.
Powers of attorney are particularly a good idea in the area of eldercare law. Power of attorney is an excellent planning tool as we plan for our elder years.
Obviously, everyone needs a will to dispose of assets at death; power of attorney is necessary for finances and for health-related issues. The Living Will is the end of life document that tells medical professionals and others what you want done in the event that you are terminally ill or injured.
It is also a good idea for married couples to give each other power of attorney just in case it is needed for things you may not even think about. For example, many people have retirement plans, IRAs and 401(k)s, and those are owned individually.
The wife thinks she has access to her husband’s accounts, but she doesn’t unless he dies. So if she needs the money while her husband is still living, if she needs access to it and he’s disabled, she has no access to his accounts without a power of attorney.
There are many issues to consider when a power of attorney is necessary, or when you draw up your will. It is a good idea to consult an attorney for these matters. It will save you and your loved ones time and money in the long run.