Think of all the decisions you make in a week or a month — how much money you spend, or save, whether you get your car fixed, whether you go to the doctor if you aren’t feeling well. What will happen if you can’t make those decisions for yourself? Someone will have to make them for you, and they’ll need a power of attorney to do it.
What is a power of attorney?
A power of attorney (POA) helps your family navigate difficult times. A power of attorney is a legal document that gives someone authority to act on your behalf. By using the power of attorney, someone you trust can help carry out your wishes. This person is called an agent, and the power of attorney legally appoints that trustworthy and responsible person you’ve chosen to have the authority to make financial or medical decisions on your behalf.
Why it’s important to choose the right helper…
Your agent will have access to your money and property, so you want to be sure to choose a person who has your best interests in mind. (Click here for a quick test to see if your helper is likely to be a good one.) Your POA agent cannot spend your money on themselves, but they do have the authority to spend your money or even sell your house or other property, if that is best for you.
It is important to always keep in mind that a POA can be easily abused. Before you appoint your POA agent, it is a good idea to know what they can and cannot do for you.
Check out our other resources on powers of attorney
To keep learning more about this important legal tool and how to choose good helpers for your plan, check out the following articles on our blog: