First, let’s talk about what a power of attorney is. A durable power of attorney is a legal document where you choose an agent to make financial decisions on your behalf.
Why would I need a Power of Attorney?
- It is more convenient for you to use an agent
- You were injured and became disabled
- For some reason you are no longer considered legally competent
A power of attorney is often used in place of a guardianship and only ends upon your death or revocation. Now, if you are married you may be thinking that this doesn’t apply to you because your husband or wife can make decisions for you. In a limited sense they can but there are many times they can’t. For instance, have you ever tried to call a bank or credit card company for your spouse to get financial details? You were probably turned away because you didn’t have the authority to get those details. The same goes for many medical decisions. You may find that without a POA your husband’s estranged brother will be allowed to make medical decisions for him when you aren’t.
For example, let’s say you are happily married and in peak health. One day while you are driving to work you are hit by a drunk driver. Your injuries are extreme enough that you can no longer communicate. Without written consent your spouse could be completely blocked from making financial decisions.
But, if you already have a power of attorney in place, your spouse will be able to:
- Pay your bills
- Continue your business
- File your taxes
- Buy and sell real estate for you
- Appoint a caregiver if needed
You can never really understand just how important a POA can be until you are in a situation where you need one. If you want to learn more about power of attorney, just contact a local attorney with estate planning experience. They can walk you through the process and answer any questions you may have.