There are a few reasons you could be asking yourself, “Do I need a power of attorney?”
Making this decision isn’t an easy one. It’s also a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Picking a power of attorney can drastically change your life or the life of your family. Learn more about this big decision and what you need to do.
What Is Power of Attorney?
When someone wants to grant their legal decision-making abilities to another person, they’ll need a power of attorney (POA). A person can give up financial, custodial, or health decisions to another with a POA document.
Giving the power of attorney to an agent, or person acting on your behalf, to handle financial matters is a common occurrence.
This is usually seen during real estate transactions or in the event of medical incapacitation. Many people give POA to their spouses or children in these situations.
A limited financial power of attorney is perfect for business meetings or transactions where you can’t be present.
Are you a single parent who travels out-of-town frequently? A POA allows an agent of your choosing to handle medical decisions, sign permission slips, or daycare options.
Most people pick a close relative who is comfortable with their child and vice versa.
If you are ever rendered unconscious by a car accident, how could you make medical decisions? A health care POA gives a loved one the power to make decisions regarding your health.
For example, doctors can try two different options to help treat your injuries, but they need to act now. Your loved one with POA can tell them which route to follow.
The POA is generally limited to decisions that don’t affect life or death. Those heavy decisions are usually dictated by a living will.
How to Choose an Agent
We might think it’s best to automatically pick a spouse or child to have POA. But some situations warrant someone completely different.
If a spouse doesn’t have any understanding of your business dealings, you probably don’t want them sitting at your negotiating table. This scenario warrants giving POA to a business partner or consultant.
While it’s often the best option, family isn’t always the best choice for a custodial POA. Your parents or siblings may not be suitable guardians for your children.
Depending on how long you plan to be away from your kids, a close friend who has kids of the same age may be the best option.
Do I Need a Power of Attorney?
Use these most common scenarios to answer the question, “Do I need a power of attorney?”
It’s not easy giving up decision-making power over such important matters. Spend some time thinking of the right person who will make the right decisions in your shoes.
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