It can be overwhelming to think about what will happen if you were no longer able to make competent decisions. You may also trust your loved ones will automatically gain control of your estate and act on your behalf in these situations. However, this is not necessarily true. Having a power of attorney can help alleviate your legal burdens. How? Keep reading to find out!
A power of attorney is your plan for when you can no longer have the ability to make your own decisions. Whether due to a slow mental degradation or a sudden, incapacitating injury – failure to have a valid power of attorney can leave you and your loved ones with little control of your estate, finances, and end-of-life wishes.
One of the most common misconceptions is that a power of attorney gives another individual control over your estate. However, a power of attorney comes with specific legal responsibilities, including fiduciary obligations. When you have a power of attorney, the agent must act in your best interests at all times.
A power of attorney can help protect you and your loved ones. How? If you become incapacitated without a power of attorney, your loved ones will need to obtain a court order in order to access your finances. If you are the primary earner in your family, for example, these costly delays could create financial hardships for all involved. Unfortunately, mortgages, utilities, and other bills remain whether you are legally competent or not.
You should obtain a power of attorney while you are still competent. (In fact, you cannot legally obtain one once you are no longer competent.) Everyone’s situation is different, though. For example, a soldier may desire a power of attorney before being deployed to ensure his or her spouse can act on their behalf should they be injured while on tour. However, most individuals look to establish a power of attorney once they retire or have been diagnosed with a serious long-term illness.
There are hundreds of online power of attorney documents available on the internet. However, a power of attorney should be a unique, custom document created to capture the specifics of your situation. In Houma, LA – Waitz & Downer, Attorneys at Law is your premier wills and successions law firm.
Waitz & Downer can help you establish a general, limited or special power of attorney that is unique to your circumstances and in accordance with your wishes. Contact Waitz & Downer today for wills and succession planning!