What is a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney is a written authorization that allows you, as the named principal, to formally appoint a trusted individual to make decisions and take actions on your behalf. Whomever you name will be able to represent your best interests on an either temporary or permanent basis.
This document designates the person you select as your agent, or “attorney-in-fact” within the scope of the agreement. They are expected to make informed, good-faith decisions regarding issues like business transactions, health care options, insurance policies, tax returns, and may other legal, health, and financial matters.
Types of Powers of Attorney
There are different types of Powers of Attorney and different functions that your Cordell Planning Partners attorney will help you understand. A limited Power of Attorney may give someone the right to sign a deed to a property on a day when you are out of town, or it may allow someone to sign checks for you.
This is different from a general Power of Attorney, which is comprehensive and can give your attorney-in-fact all the powers and rights that you have, regarding your own person.
There also is a Durable Power of Attorney, which gives your attorney-in-fact the ability to take care of your financial affairs when and if you ever become incapacitated. Without one, no one is able to represent you, unless a court appoints a conservator or guardian.
With all of the uncertainty that exists in the future, it is vital that you have someone in mind when you are meeting with your Cordell Planning Partners attorney, that can make informed decisions that reflect your wishes, especially from a medical perspective.
Your health, your wishes
It is imperative that you have a health care Power of Attorney in place, in order to make your wishes known if you are physically or mentally incapable of doing so. It allows your attorney-in-fact to consent to, prohibit, or withdraw medical treatment.
Your attorney-in-fact will be able to make end-of-life decisions on your behalf, but they are required to follow any Advance Directives that you previously may have completed.
An Advance Directive, also known as a Medical Directive or Health Care Directive, protects the rights of a patient to refuse or to request medical treatment, thereby enabling the health care provider to honor the wishes of their patient.
This can be a separate document, or it can be a part of the health care Power of Attorney. It is a necessary component for the process of planning for your future. No matter what age you are, you need to be prepared against the rise of an emergency, should one occur.
Going off to college
At the age of 18, your child receives all of the protections of adulthood, and while it is important to grant your child the independence they need to grow and mature, it also is important that you have access to vital financial, medical, and academic information, as well as authority to make decisions on their behalf. You need a Power of Attorney document.
A Power of Attorney can assist you in staying in the loop with your college-bound student and help ensure that you are prepared in case of emergencies.