The Importance of a Power of Attorney
May 25, 2022
Many adults execute a power of attorney to appoint someone who would manage their legal, financial, and medical affairs in the event of their incapacity. If you lose your physical or mental capacity in the absence of a power of attorney, your loved ones may encounter serious legal issues. They may not be able to make proactive decisions about your health, finances, or legal matters.
Planning for who should make financial, legal, and medical decisions on your behalf in the event of your incapacity is just as important as planning for what should happen to your estate when you are gone. If you need help crafting a power of attorney (POA), reach out to legal counsel. At The Law Office of Mario Flores, PLLC, I am committed to assisting clients in Austin, Texas, and surrounding areas with a wide range of estate planning matters, including POAs.
What Is a Power of Attorney?
The term “power of attorney” is used to describe a legal document in which one individual (the principal) appoints another individual (the agent) to act on their behalf in the event of their incapacity. There are different types of POAs to choose from:
General power of attorney. This type of POA allows the principal to provide broad authorizations to the agent. Thus, the agent may have the authority to handle the principal’s medical, legal, financial, and other matters.
Limited power of attorney. A limited POA allows the agent to handle a specific task or set of tasks on behalf of the principal.
Durable power of attorney. This type of POA becomes effective once the principal signs the legal document and continues even after the principal is rendered mentally or physically incapacitated.
Springing power of attorney. Unlike a durable POA, a springing power of attorney becomes effective only after the principal loses their mental or physical capacity.
Medical power of attorney. The principal can give the agent the authority to make decisions regarding their healthcare. As its name implies, a medical POA is limited to healthcare decisions.
If you are considering creating a power of attorney but do not know what type of POA would be appropriate in your specific situation, speak with an experienced estate planning attorney.
Why is Power of Attorney So Important?
There are many benefits to a power of attorney. These benefits include but are not limited to:
You can have peace of mind. Life is unpredictable. You never know what might happen to you tomorrow. That is why having a power of attorney can give you peace of mind knowing that your affairs will be in the right hands in the event of your incapacity.
You can appoint someone you trust. If something happens to you and you lose your mental or physical capacity, you can rest assured knowing that you have appointed a person you trust to handle your affairs and carry out your wishes.
You can minimize family conflict. When a person becomes incapacitated without a power of attorney, family members often have disagreements about who should have the authority to handle their loved one’s affairs. A well-crafted POA can minimize or even eliminate family conflict.
Incapacity is often an unforeseeable event in a person’s life. That is why having a power of attorney is so important to protect yourself, your assets, and your loved ones.
Considerations When Choosing an Agent
One of the most difficult decisions facing a person making a power of attorney is whom to appoint as their agent. Here are some considerations to make when choosing an agent:
Who should be your agent? Ideally, you should appoint the person you trust to carry out your wishes and handle your affairs in a way that has your best interests in mind. When choosing whom to appoint as your agent, consider whether they have enough time to assume the role of an agent, whether they live close by, and other factors.
How many agents should you appoint? Many people choose to appoint more than one agent when making a power of attorney. Appointing multiple agents as part of a POA allows you to divide tasks between them.
Should you appoint a successor agent? When creating a POA, you can appoint a successor agent who would serve as a backup attorney-in-fact if the primary agent cannot perform their functions due to incapacity, death, or refusal to act.
Complex legal issues may arise when making a power of attorney. Consult with a skilled lawyer to understand your options and help you navigate the process of creating a POA.
Powers of Attorney Lawyer Serving Austin, Texas
A properly executed power of attorney can become a key element in a comprehensive estate plan. With a POA, you can have peace of mind knowing that your affairs will be handled according to your wishes, even if you lose the capacity to make decisions on your own.
As an estate planning lawyer at The Law Office of Mario Flores, PLLC, I help people in Austin, Texas, and neighboring areas draft and execute POAs according to legal requirements in the state of Texas. Reach out today to start preparing for tomorrow.