An Introduction To Powers Of Attorney (POA)
When people are first introduced to the concept of powers of attorney (POA), they usually have a lot of questions. At its core, a POA is a legal document that grants another party the authority to manage the financial or healthcare-related affairs of a person if they lose their ability to do so on their own.
The person whose affairs are to be managed is known as the principle. When creating a power of attorney, they name a person that they trust to be responsible for decisions regarding important topics like their finances or their medical care. If the principle is mentally incapacitated, the POA allows the designated agent to take over the decision-making process. Until the POA goes into effect, however, the principle can reassign the power of attorney to another agent or they can remove the initial agent that they named.
What Are The Benefits Of Having A Power Of Attorney?
POAs are beneficial for seniors who want to put the power to make important decisions in the hands of a trusted individual in case they are incapacitated. In most cases, the agent named in a POA is a relative or a close friend. In some cases, power of attorney may also be assigned to an organization.
Life is unpredictable. You never know when events that are beyond your control could happen. Having a power of attorney in place can ensure that any decisions that need to be made in the event of an accident, injury, or illness are placed in the hands of a trusted individual rather than left to chance. Seniors who are dealing with health issues or who are moving into a nursing home or assisted living facility often appoint their adult children or spouses as their agents.
The process of putting together a POA is easier than you might think. It is also completely private, meaning that the information in your POA is not publicly available. The importance of having one of these documents can’t be overstated. If an individual becomes incapable of making decisions on their own, their friends or family members may have to spend time in court working to get appointed as a guardian. Not only does this take a lot of time and cost a lot of money but it also puts your private affairs out in the public domain.
Powers Of Attorney Come In Several Different Types
POAs for healthcare decisions and financial decisions are completely separate from one another. Each individual document can vary in terms of its specificity. It really depends on the preferences of the person creating the document. For instance, you may want to name your adult son as your agent for decisions regarding your finances while naming your sister as your agent for healthcare-related decisions.
Medical Powers Of Attorney
Medical POAs deal directly with decisions that are related to healthcare. The agent who is named in the document should spend time learning about the preferences of the principle regarding major quality-of-life decisions.
Agents may face decisions regarding a number of healthcare-related topics including treatment options, where the principle will live, and the type of hospice care that they receive. Acting as an agent for a medical POA is a tremendous responsibility. While the principle is still capable, it is important to talk about their wishes so that the agent can make decisions that are in line with their preferences.
Financial Powers Of Attorney
As you might guess, financial POAs grant decision-making authority regarding financial decisions to the agent named in the document. The level of control granted to the agent can vary. In some cases, they may only be authorized to manage an individual transaction. For instance, they may be tasked with selling off a specific stock. Other responsibilities can include managing the estate, dealing with banking, operating a business, handling insurance-related deals, selling stocks or bonds, providing charitable gifts, or handling taxes. The agent is only allowed to make financial decisions – they don’t actually take control of any of the property of the principle.
It is possible to create a POA without the assistance of an attorney. In most cases, however, working with a lawyer is the best option. That way, you can get knowledgeable advice and guidance throughout the entire process, helping to ensure that both the agent and the principal are informed. Additionally, a qualified attorney can verify that the finished documents are put together correctly so that they adhere to the requirements of your state.
We hope this story gives you an idea of what you might be dealing with in deciding with your loved one what is right for them. If you have any immediate questions, please feel free to call us or contact Assisting Hands Houston today! Visit our blog for more related articles and more insight.