Power of Attorney: A Crucial Step on a Winding, Long Path
You’ve glossed over a handful of magazine articles and spoken to a few family members. They all suggest that appointing a power of attorney is the best thing to do. Some even go as far as to state that it’s the only thing needed to protect one’s assets and surviving family members. And in that case, they’d be wrong. Having a law firm draft a Power of Attorney is just one step on the path to securing a family or individual’s future.
Why is appointing a power of attorney just one step of many? In a few words, they expire and are often limited in scope to begin with. Let’s take a fictional couple for the purposes of example. We’ll call them Fred and Alice. Fred and Alice are not married but have been friends for a long time. They even share a seasonal, business interest. So when Fred finds out that he needs to have open heart surgery, he decides to make her financial power of attorney.
He does so because he’s worried that his recovery may keep him from paying both personal and business debts. By granting her financial power of attorney, he can recuperate in peace knowing she’ll handle all of his outstanding debts. But unfortunately, the surgery does not go well for Fred and he has a stroke that leaves him unable to communicate. Can Alice use the financial power of attorney to make medical decisions on his behalf or settle Fred’s estate should he later die?
No, she can’t. The power to make those decisions is granted through the use of other documents, including wills, trusts and advance directives. Hence, that’s why power of attorneys are just one step and not the end all, be all. To learn more about those steps and how to get started on drafting a power of attorney right away, please contact the O’Dea Law Firm today.