Many people think that their estate plan only deals with who’s going to get what when the creator passes away. There’s another facet to a comprehensive estate plan that they need to think about. This is who they want to take care of their affairs if they become incapacitated.
The person you choose to name on the power of attorney will make all decisions that you could make. There are two primary power of attorney designations: One for financial issues and one for health care. The financial power of attorney can pay your bills or buy and sell assets. The health care power of attorney can make all medical decisions for you unless you’ve already made them in your advanced directives.
Characteristics to look for when you name your power of attorney
You need to name someone who’s responsible and who can consider only your wishes (not their own, nor those expressed by your family members). Ideally, they will live near you. The person who has power of attorney shouldn’t ever do things that are self-serving. Instead, they should put you first. They should be able to be firm and clearly relay their decisions in a crisis.
Some people choose to name a spouse or another close family member on this form. While that’s understandable, you should be sure that the person will be able to make solid decisions even if they’re experiencing emotional stress.
Powers of attorney designations are only one component of a comprehensive estate plan. It’s imperative that you consider everything in the plan. Discussing the plan with someone who’s familiar with your wishes may help to ensure that you have everything in order. Once you do this, you should review the plan periodically so it reflects your current wishes.