We all break our backs to be ready for life’s uncertainties and take care of our loved ones. However, the truth is life is unpredictable. One moment you may be full of life and the next fighting for that very life following a catastrophic car accident or an illness. And either situation can render you incapable of caring for yourself or managing your affairs. This is where a power of attorney (POA) comes in.
A power of attorney is a legal arrangement that allows you to designate someone else (referred to as an agent or a proxy) to make certain legal decisions on your behalf. A power of attorney usually takes effect when its creator is no longer able to make independent decisions. Given its significance, it is important that you put a lot of thought into creating a power of attorney.
Here are a couple of things you need to consider when creating this crucial document.
Know your rights
Power of attorney designation can be a crucial part of your entire estate plan. Remember that you are giving a third party the power to make critical decisions such as when to turn off the life support machine or make a sale or purchase on your behalf when you are incapacitated. It is important to understand that the power of attorney can be limited to a certain event or timeframe.
Have it in writing
Some contracts are easily enforceable even when they were made verbally. However, a written POA provides solid evidence of the creator’s signature at the time of its execution. This can be especially important if the matter ends up in court. Should the agent named in the power of attorney make questionable decisions on behalf of the principal, a written and signed POA document may be the only evidence the court will refer to when adjudicating the matter.
Despite your best efforts, you can never plan for every situation or know exactly what will happen to you in the future. Creating a valid power of attorney can give you peace of mind when facing life’s uncertainties.