Power of attorney (POA) documents are an essential part of estate planning. Granting someone power of attorney gives them control over your health care or finances if you become incapacitated.
Baby boomers need to start thinking about power of attorney because they're one of the oldest living generations. Unexpected accidents and medical issues become increasingly likely as they age. POA documents can ensure that their wishes are carried out.
Health Care Power of Attorney (HCPOA)
The individual named on your health care POA makes medical decisions on your behalf. If you're in a coma, terminally ill, or otherwise unable to make decisions, this agent gives doctors instructions outlined to your will.
Your agent also makes medical decisions on your behalf, such as approving surgeries and medications. Their duty ends when you pass away or recover and can make your own choices. When you name someone on the document, consider naming alternates that take over if the first agent becomes incapacitated themselves.
Financial Power of Attorney
The agent on your financial POA document takes care of your estate on your behalf. They can deposit and withdraw money, make payments, manage investments, write checks, and even file your tax return. You can give an agent full control over your finances or grant a limited POA that covers a few assets, such as savings accounts.
Your agent can pay medical bills with your assets. However, they can't make medical decisions unless you also grant them a health care POA. Depending on your wishes, your agent could act indefinitely or only have control for a specific time period.
Choose someone who will act in your best interests and not anyone else's, including their own.