You may be close to retirement or just starting your career. You may be single, widowed or newly married.
No matter what your age, medical and financial powers of attorney should occupy a prominent place among your estate planning tools.
Your medical power of attorney (POA)
An accident or unexpected illness can happen at any time and might be significant enough to incapacitate you. If you create a medical power of attorney, you can designate someone as your agent. This might be a family member or trusted friend who can interact with healthcare professionals and make decisions on your behalf if you cannot do so. You may also wish to consider setting up a living will, which will provide your end-of-life wishes and instructions.
The financial POA
You can also create a financial POA naming an agent who can take care of your day-to-day responsibilities such as taking care of your bank account, paying bills and managing your investments. Elderly people frequently use this kind of POA when they need a little extra help managing their finances.
No matter how old or young you are, having powers of attorney among your estate planning tools provides peace of mind for you and your family. However, these documents are only legal and effective if the principal who executes them is mentally competent. This is something for older people to consider. Since aging can bring with it various forms of dementia, it is wise to avoid a potential crisis and create medical and financial POAs as soon as possible.