POWER OF ATTORNEY
Why would you need a durable power of attorney, what is a durable power of attorney? There are many reasons why someone would seek to get a durable power of attorney or set one up for their loved ones. The biggest reasons are peace of mind and protection for yourself and your loved ones. If something happened to you, let’s say you and your spouse or partner are driving home from work, you get into a bad accident and are unable to care for your children or an elderly parent or manage your finances while you are focusing on recovering to go home to your family. Do you have a plan in place to get through that period of time and someone you trust to carry it out? Lets say you do, we will say that you have even written down a plan with your interests outlined in how and who you like caring for any children you have and the people you would like to have access to your finances to help manage your bills and finances. But just having a plan you have relayed to your family or close friends will not be enough. If you become incapacitated and you do not have legal documents drawn up that gives the legal authority to someone as your power of attorney they cannot act on your behalf or execute any of your wishes without going through the courts to try to validate your wishes. This is because there is no proof that you yourself drew up these documents and in sound body and mind. The courts may decide that was presented to them is not valid and a different plan of action for you, your children and finances may be decided by the court that you may not have wanted to happen. Having the proper documents drawn up will avoid months of headache for your loved ones should such an event occur.
You have decided that a durable power of attorney is something important that you and your loved ones should have, now what? Its time to decide what type of Power of attorney you should have and this can be a little overwhelming. There are multiple types. Deciding what is best for you and your situation is based on you. Let’s look at some examples, Take Mr. Soto he is an elderly gentleman that lives in Foss care and can still manage his daily routine with little intervention but he is scheduled to have exploratory surgery. Based on the options below a Healthcare power of attorney may work best for Mr. Soto because he is a high-risk patient due to his high blood pressure and diabetes. If something goes wrong during his surgery, he will need an advocate in his corner carrying out his medical wishes as he has determined for himself if he is unable to communicate those. How about Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, they are snowbirds that live in Washington four months out of the year and in Florida the rest and they own a home in each state. They are also elderly and enjoy commuting to their summer destination via Motorhome. What happens if they are in a bad accident on the way to their Florida home or need help dealing with insurance because their Washington state home flooded and they cannot get back to Washington due to health issues. A general Power of attorney may suit them best so that there are a wide variety of functions their Power of Attorney can handle for them. What about Ms. Swanson, she is a young healthy successful single business woman, a combination of general power of attorney and special power of attorney would be good for her have. If you are single you don’t always have someone with you like a spouse available to make medical choices on your behalf. Having someone already set up will be an important thing to have.
General Power of Attorney- This option gives broad powers to the Power of attorney from finances, business decisions, settling claims, operating business interests and any other pressing matters that may arise.
Special Power of Attorney – You can specify the exact powers an agent can exercise. This is generally used when an individual is incapacitated due to medical issues and needs someone to help with real estate, finances, business transactions and care of loved ones. Like our example above.
Healthcare Power of Attorney – This comes into play when you are medically incompetent due to illness or accident.
Like all things a Power of Attorney should be managed as you and your family grow and age. We are here to assist in the of process setting and putting in place the proper safeguards for you in your Power of attorney documents. Whichever options you decide we are here to help guide you through the process of setting up, maintaining, modifying and updating your power of attorney documents to best suite your needs in all phases of your life.