Estate planning can be beneficial as soon as someone turns 18. Although new adults often don’t need testamentary documents talking about their assets when they die because they have yet to accumulate much personal wealth, they may need someone to speak on their behalf in the event of an emergency.
Adults at any age can typically benefit from having powers of attorney integrated into their estate plans. However, given that people frequently worry about the abuse of such authority, they may decide against employing this simple way to protect themselves. It’s important to understand that as long as such documents are drafted properly, there is virtually no way that their authority can be abused. It’s additionally important to understand that there are many reasons to draft powers of attorney that apply to adults of all different ages and personal situations, including the three common reasons below.
To preserve resources
Experiencing some kind of medical emergency, like a medically-induced coma as treatment for a crash-related brain injury, could mean that someone is not able to manage their finances for multiple weeks or possibly even several months. They could then be at risk of eviction or foreclosure. Their credit score could plummet, and their personal assets could be at risk. Those with financial power of attorney know that there will be someone to pay their bills and otherwise manage their resources while they are in the hospital.
To avoid guardianship
Older adults thinking about their retirement years and the possibility of cognitive decline as they age often worry that their most unstable child or least favorite cousin might be the person to seek guardianship and take control of their daily life. Those who have durable powers of attorney have documents that will retain their Authority even if the courts declare them permanently incapacitated. They can effectively name their own guardian or conservator to manage their daily life and their finances.
To take pressure off of loved ones
Imagine rushing to the hospital to check on a spouse or parent, only to end up faced with either a demand to make care choices or a realization that the care provided violates someone’s deeply-held beliefs. Loved ones may feel anxious about needing to make financial and medical decisions on behalf of an immediate family member, or they may not have the authority to step up when things don’t proceed in an appropriate fashion. Choosing an agent who is neither a child nor a spouse will mean that someone with slightly less emotional involvement in the situation can take control.
Putting together powers of attorney can provide the drafter with peace of mind and protection should they experience some kind of major personal emergency that renders them incapable of advocating on behalf of their own needs and preferences.