If you are struck by a debilitating illness or injury, you may no longer be able to make decisions for yourself. This is a risk regardless of your age or health. The fact of the matter is that your’ financial and other affairs will continue to require attention as you recuperate. If you have not planned ahead, your loved ones may struggle to provide this attention on your behalf. A power of attorney and a living will are easy steps you can take to prepare for this type of situation, give yourself peace of mind and remove some pressure from your loved ones.
A power of attorney is a legal document that designates another person to make decisions on your behalf. In the context of an estate plan, a power of attorney is usually durable, meaning it remains in effect if you become legally incapacitated. While every power of attorney is different and should be tailored to meet your needs, in case of your incapacity, most such documents give your agent the power to:
Access bank accounts
File tax returns
Powers of attorney help avoid the waste and financial damage that can come from an estate being mismanaged or neglected during a period of incapacity. Since these documents remain in effect even after you become incapacitated, they spare your family from having to go through the difficulty of establishing a formal legal guardianship. However, a power of attorney can only be executed prior to incapacity, so it is important to have one established regardless of your age or health condition.
A living will allows you to clearly articulate your wishes regarding end-of-life care and other medical issues. It grants authority to one of your family members, friends or loved ones to make healthcare decisions on your behalf should you become unable to do so. This is a personal process that requires a great deal of reflection and discussion with your family. However, our attorneys can help you understand the legal side of these documents and clearly memorialize your wishes in a legally sufficient form.
There is no time like the present to prepare for the future. When you need skilled legal representation for your loved ones, come to Sherman Law Offices for our assistance. Contact us today at (856) 823-4086.
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