As you start working on your estate plan, something you may want to add is a power of attorney. If you name someone as a power of attorney, then they will have certain rights and responsibilities when you are no longer able to care for yourself.
The POA documents let you determine who you want to have speak on your behalf if you cannot. They will take care of financial decisions, health decisions and possibly other decisions , depending on the specific POA you set up. The person who is taking care of those things for you is called an agent.
You’ll have a medical and financial POA
You’ll likely have a medical and financial POA. This can be the same person, but it’s usually better to have two people, or more, to fill these roles. For example, if you assign your son or daughter as your financial POA, you may want your sister or brother to be your medical POA. If you have only one person in these roles, there could be a risk that it will be too much to take on or that they will refuse one or both roles in the future.
What should you do to set up the best POA
To set up a power of attorney that does truly protect you, it’s important for you to choose someone who wants the role. If you have a child who has said they’re ready to take on that role in the future, or if you have good friends or relatives you trust, then talk to them to be sure they’re the right people to become your agents.
Your attorney can help you choose backup agents, as well, if there is a death or if someone has to turn down the role unexpectedly.