Powers Of Attorney
When the term estate planning comes to mind, many people understandably think first about wills, i.e., making sure property goes to the right relatives and other loved ones. An equally important question, however, concerns who should make important decisions in the event that people are unable to make them for themselves.
Pennsylvania, like other states, allows people to designate others to make important decisions on their behalf. These legal documents are known as power of attorney, and they are a critical — if not always obvious — part of any comprehensive estate plan. We view them as just as important as a will, because they fill an important gap that many people fail to account for: What happens when a sudden illness or serious injury leaves you unable to make financial and other decisions? Our attorney, Joseph McDonald, and legal team are here to take the complexity and guesswork out of the process so that you and your loved ones can have the peace of mind you deserve.
Even the most detailed will offers little security for someone who is incapacitated by serious injury or illness. Having a valid power of attorney means knowing that your financial and legal affairs will be in capable hands.
How A Power Of Attorney Can Benefit You — And Your Loved Ones
At the end of the day, a power of attorney means having someone you can count on empowered to make important decisions when you cannot — due to illness, accident injuries or any other form of incapacitation.
Powers of attorney can be general, meaning that they grant the agent (person you appoint) broad authority; they can also be limited, which means that you only want your agent to perform specific tasks. Powers of attorney usually touch the following areas:
- Financial: This means giving someone the authority to access bank accounts, make financial transactions and make other decisions that affect your finances.
- Legal: This can range from selling real estate to handling business affairs to entering into legal contracts. Again, you are in control of how much authority you delegate to your agent.
- Medical: Also known as an advance health care directive or health care surrogate, a medical power of attorney allows you to name someone to make medical decisions for you when you cannot speak for yourself.
Powers of attorney are ultimately designed to benefit you, but they also benefit your loved ones. How? It is hard to overstate how much easier things are for family and other loved ones when they know that you have already designed a trusted individual to make important, often difficult decisions on your behalf. In a moment of crisis, this security can be truly invaluable.