At our house we like to watch the old shows like Little House on the Prairie and Andy Griffith. Bailey, our daughter, loves watching “Half Pint” and Barney Fife. Those are great shows and they reinforce some great old-fashioned values.
In estate planning, there are often changing laws and new legal strategies. But there are also some old fashioned ideas that have not changed. One of those is the fact that everyone over the age of 18 should have powers of attorney for healthcare and property.
Everyone Needs a Power of Attorney
A power of attorney gives someone else the power to act for you if you can’t do it yourself. So if you have a stroke, get Alzheimer’s or get laid up and have to have your checkbook taken away, who will be in charge?
There are 2 types of powers of attorney. And you really need both of them.
- Power of Attorney for Property This allows someone to help you pay the bills. It allows someone to sell your car, your house or even get funds from your IRA. It also allows them to run errands for you, like forwarding your mail, dealing with pets and filing taxes.
- Power of Attorney for Healthcare This is a separate document that gives someone the power to get medical information, make decisions for you as to treatment or surgery, make end of life decisions, and follow through on organ donations. Read “Why You Need a Healthcare POA” HERE.
What happens if you don’t have one of these? Well, if you have a stroke or other disability, someone may have to go to court to seek a guardianship. Some people call this a “living probate” because you are in probate court while you are still alive. As you can imagine, this costs time and money. And the judge will oversee the guardian making your decisions.
Powers of attorney are needed regardless of wealth level for anyone over age 18. Even college kids need them in case they are injured, so their parents can have access.
Give us a call today (217-726-9200) and set up a free phone chat with Dave. Depending on the details of your unique situation, he can then recommend what the next best step will be with regards to a POA.