Put Power of Attorney on Your Side
You might not like to think about it, but what if you were no longer mentally capable of handling your own affairs? How can you avoid burdening your loved ones who depend on you?
For starters, you may want to create a Power of Attorney arrangement. Here’s a look at two of the most common ones:
General Power of Attorney — A General Power of Attorney allows your representative to manage your finances and property on your behalf while you are still capable of overseeing your own affairs; it ends if you become mentally incapacitated.
Enduring or Continuing Power of Attorney — An Enduring or Continuing Power of Attorney allows your representative to take over management of your finances and property if you become mentally incapable of doing so yourself.
You can essentially choose anyone you like as your representative: your spouse, a family member, or a close friend. Just make sure to pick someone you trust.
It’s risky to go without a Power of Attorney. If you don’t choose one, and you lose your mental capacities, the government, in the form of a probate court, might appoint someone to make decisions for you — and there’s no guarantee you would approve of the choice.
You can download Power of Attorney forms from an online source, or you can get them from a local attorney’s office. But do get them — and soon. The future is not ours to see, so it pays to be prepared.