A properly drafted estate plan should plan not just for your eventual death but also address the possibility of your incapacity. If incapacity does strike at any time, someone will need to make healthcare decisions for you and manage your assets. Your estate plan offers you the opportunity to choose who those people will be as well as ensure that they have the necessary legal authority. Whether you need powers of attorney or healthcare and emergency documents, the estate planning attorneys at German Law can help.
Do I Need a Power of Attorney in My Estate Plan?
At some point you have likely been a party to a Power of Attorney (POA). A POA is a legal document that allows you (the “Principal”) to grant another person (the “Agent”) the authority to act on your behalf in legal matters and transactions. The authority granted in a POA can be general or limited, depending on the extent of the authority you want to give to your Agent. When you make any POA durable your Agent’s authority will remain in effect even if you become incapacitated. A general POA gives your Agent virtually unfettered authority over your assets. A limited POA is typically used to give someone temporary and limited authority. For example, if you want a childcare provider to have the legal authority to make medical decisions for a minor child or need to give a friend the legal authority to sign a bill of sale for your vehicle.
Do I Need Healthcare and Emergency Documents?
Most people take for granted the ability to make decisions, including healthcare decisions, for themselves. Have you considered, however, what might happen if you are unable to make your own healthcare decisions because you are incapacitated? If someone else must make them, who would you want that person to be? For that person to have the necessary legal authority, you need to execute a legal document known as an “advance directive.”
You may have strong beliefs regarding what type of end-of-life medical treatment you want – and do not want – to be administered when the time comes. If you are unable to convey your wishes, however, they may not be honored. Another type of advance directive allows you to express your wishes now so you can be sure they will be honored at the end of your life. Executing an advance directive also prevents loved ones from having to make difficult decisions about end-of-life care which can lead to family conflict.
The estate planning attorneys at German Law are committed to helping you create the appropriate powers of attorney, healthcare, and emergency documents to ensure that your wishes are honored. Contact our office today by calling (800) 774-7576 or filling out our online contact form.