Powers of attorney are some of the most useful documents that people can include in an estate plan. However, there are millions of adults who might benefit from powers of attorney who never get around to drafting them.
People often fall into the trap of assuming that more advanced estate planning is only necessary for individuals in highly unusual circumstances, such as those with multi-million-dollar estates. The reality is that comprehensive estate planning, including the creation of living documents like powers of attorney, can be a smart choice for people in a variety of different life circumstances. The following are some of the most compelling reasons that people decide to add powers of attorney to their estate plans.
Strong feelings about medical care
Many people have religious or philosophical feelings about different kinds of medical treatment. For example, there are many people who oppose the idea of long-term life support when there is minimal brain activity, while there are others who feel as though people should sustain someone’s life as long as it is theoretically possible using medical interventions. People often have strong feelings about pain relief, anatomical gifts and numerous other forms of medical care. Powers of attorney give someone a chance to name someone they trust to assert their preferences about medical treatment.
Concern about close loved ones
Spouses often have to make very difficult decisions about someone’s healthcare during an emergency that leaves them incapacitated. They may also need to take over financial responsibilities, including obligations for a business or professional practice, unless the person incapacitated has planned ahead for the situation. Powers of attorney give an individual an opportunity to name someone that they trust who won’t have as emotional of a reaction to their personal emergency as the agent responsible for managing their affairs. Doing so can help take a lot of the pressure off of the people who have the closest relationships with them.
Worries about major assets
Maybe someone owns multiple investment properties that require monthly mortgage payments, or perhaps they have other financial obligations that could quickly spiral out of control and leave them at risk of collection or repossession efforts if they are not healthy enough to fulfill their financial obligations. Powers of attorney help ensure that there is someone competent and empowered to manage an individual’s finances when they are not in a scenario to take care of their own affairs.
Adding powers of attorney to a Pennsylvania estate plan can help someone protect their interests and limit the pressure on the people they love if they experience a medical emergency.