Powers of Attorney: Essential Estate Planning Documents
Powers of attorney from https://www.phillipslawoffices.com/car-accidents/ are an essential component of every successful estate plan. They allow you to name a trusted person to take care of specific things for you when you are incapacitated. There are several different types. The main ones you should have are a durable financial power of attorney, a healthcare power of attorney, and a mental health care power of attorney. In this article, we will go over the purpose of each of these powers of attorney and what they do for you.
Durable Financial Power of Attorney
Durable financial powers of attorney allow you to name someone to take care of your finances if you become incapacitated. The person that you give this authority is known as your agent. A financial power of attorney makes things easier for both you and your loved ones. This is the case because it prevents them from having to petition the court for the authority and it allows you to name someone you trust.
Typically, financial powers of attorney are springing. This means that you maintain control over your affairs until you become incapacitated. At which point your powers would then ‘spring’ into effect, transferring the authority to your agent. This allows you to maintain complete control over your finances while you are healthy and well. The lawyers helping with truck accidents injures also are very essential to all kinds of accident cases.
You also have control over what powers you want to grant to your agent. You can give them very broad powers or limit them to very specific ones. Typically, your agent will have the ability to do the following:
- Use your assets to pay for your everyday expenses
- File and pay your taxes
- Buy, sell, maintain, and mortgage real estate
- Collect Social Security, Medicare, or other government benefits on your behalf
- Invest your money
- Handle transactions with banks and other financial institutions
- Buy and sell insurance and annuities for you
- Operate your small business
- Claim property and inheritance on your behalf
- Transfer property into a trust you already created
- Hire someone to represent you in court
- Manage your retirement accounts
While carrying out these duties your agent must always act in your best interests. They also must keep accurate records, keep your property separate from theirs, and avoid conflicts of interest.
Health Care Power of Attorney
A health care power of attorney allows you to appoint an agent to make health care decisions on your behalf. Your agent’s powers would come into effect if you were unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise incapable of making such decisions yourself. Once again, you can choose to grant your agent very broad powers, or you can limit them. Your health care agent usually has the following powers:
- To consent or refuse medical care on your behalf. This would include diagnostic, surgical, or therapeutic procedures.
- Authorize doctors, nurses, therapists, or other health care providers to care for you.
- Pay reasonable compensation for medical expenses from your resources.
- To approve or deny your admittance into health care institutions, nursing homes, or assisted living facilities.
- To have access to your medical records and to discuss those records with your healthcare providers.
Your health care power of attorney also allows you to outline your wishes regarding autopsy, organ donation and whether you are to be buried or cremated.
Mental Health Care Power of Attorney
If you become incapacitated, a mental health care power of attorney allows you to name an agent to make decisions regarding your mental health care. Again, you can choose to give them broad or limited powers. Generally, your mental health care agent will be able to do the following:
- Have access to your mental health care records
- Consent to medication and treatments regarding your mental illness
- To admit you into a structured treatment facility for your mental health
This document will allow you agent to protect you and take care of you when your mental health has been compromised.
A living will, or end of life care plan outlines your wishes for treatment as you near the end of your life. This document comes into effect when you are terminally ill, in an irreversible coma, or a persistent vegetative state. Even though it is not a power of attorney, it works along with them and is a vital document to have.
Creating Your Own Powers of Attorney
A quality estate planning package should include all the necessary powers of attorney. All should be signed in front of a notary and kept in a safe place. If you do not have these documents in place yet or have questions, please feel free to contact us by clicking here.