If something happens to you and you become incapacitated and unable to make your own decisions, don't you want to know that the person making choices on your behalf really has your best interests at heart?
If your elderly parent sets up a legal power of attorney for you, it gives you a lot of options to work on their behalf while they're still alive. You get to access their bank account, pay their bills, pay taxes and do many other things of this nature.
A medical power of attorney is a document that gives someone else the power to make your healthcare decisions in a situation when you can't do it for yourself. This could be during end-of-life treatment, for instance, when you lack the ability to communicate your wishes to the medical team.
People don't create a living will in order to "do" something. Rather, a living will is designed to give helpful information and set rules and guidelines to be followed by medical practitioners and family members when someone receives care but no longer has the mental capacity to direct it. As such, unlike a will — which distributes an estate planner's assets after he or she has passed away — the living will is there to provide information and guidelines about medical care.
If you're still married to the parent of your children, then protecting your children's inheritance won't be a primary concern, since your spouse (the kids' other parent) will leave your assets -- and what's left of your marital estate -- to them after death. On the other hand, if you have children from a previous marriage, the ties that bind your current spouse (the stepparent) to your children will probably not be as strong.
Appointing a power of attorney for your estate is arguably one of the most important decisions that you will have to make. It gives this person power to essentially make decisions on your behalf. They are most often used in an estate plan, when foreseeing the possibility of becoming incapacitated in the future. They may also be used by military service members during the time that they go on active duty.
When you are thinking about the future of your health, you may come to the conclusion that appointing a durable power of attorney is a sensible option. No one knows what the future holds, and it is important to many of us that a person we trust will be able to act on our behalf if we become incapacitated in some way.
You may come to a point in your life where you deem it appropriate and beneficial to consider appointing a power of attorney, or you may be thinking about helping a loved one to appoint a power of attorney. Doing so can be a great way to have peace of mind about the state of your loved one's finances and health care in future years.
When a person becomes ill and lacks the mental or physical capacity to make certain decisions, it can be difficult to give appropriate treatment based on the person's wishes. In addition, it can be impossible for the person to manage his or her finances. This is why another person may need to make decisions for them. This can be achieved through power of attorney (POA) status.
If you've begun the estate planning process, then you've likely heard the term "fiduciary" thrown about. This word can be used to describe the duty that either an institution or a person has to protect the interests of another with the utmost loyalty, trust and honesty. Some refer to this obligation as providing a "higher standard of care".