Estate Planning Lawyer
Misconceptions about Power Of Attorney legal documents abound. Before you get into a bind by not having the document when you need it, know that there are several variations on powers of attorney. And further, a knowledgeable and reputable estate planning attorney will discuss which one might be in your best interest at this time of your life.
What is a power of attorney document?
Power of attorney, also known as POA, refers to an estate planning document that allows another person to make financial and business decisions for you. This person can come in handy should you become incapacitated and unable to make important decisions on your own. With that being said, here are some common misconceptions about power of attorney that you should not believe.
A POA Can Make Medical Decisions on Your Behalf
A power of attorney only authorizes business and financial decisions. If you want someone to make healthcare decisions on your behalf, you will have to establish a medical power of attorney, or healthcare proxy. It is a completely separate document. If you have been diagnosed with a long-term illness, it may be in your best interest to create a medical power of attorney.
A Power of Attorney Is Effective After You’re Gone
This is another common misconception about power of attorney. The truth is that this document is only effective during your lifetime. Once you die, the power of attorney will no longer be in effect.
A POA Relinquishes Your Independence
Unfortunately, some people are reluctant to create a power of attorney because they assume they will lose their independence. However, the document does not force you to give up your independence at all. It’s actually there for your convenience. If you ever want to revoke your power of attorney during your lifetime, you can just sign a revocation.
A Power of Attorney Can Change Your Estate Plan
This is not true either. As mentioned above, a power of attorney authorizes a person to make financial and business decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated. However, you are the only person who makes changes to your will.
If You’re Young and Healthy, a POA Is Not Necessary
If you are young with no health problems, you might assume that you do not need a power of attorney. However, no one can predict the future. There is no guarantee that you will not develop a serious illness or get into an accident. If that happens, you want someone you trust to handle your financial affairs.
Use of Power of Attorney Online Forms
There are many power of attorney documents available online, and some people may use them to save money. However, it actually is not in your best interest to do this. Power of attorney documents found online may not be up-to-date, meet legal requirements in your state or have the proper authorities. As such, it is worth it to pay extra for an estate planning lawyer’s services.
Mentally Impaired Individuals Can Appoint a Power of Attorney
A person who is mentally incompetent actually can’t appoint a power of attorney as he or she can’t make important decisions.