A power of attorney (POA) is the legal authority for one person to act for another in financial, medical, or other matters. Essentially, it empowers you by preserving your wishes and ensuring that your words are heard when you can no longer speak for yourself.
If you’re ever temporarily or permanently incapacitated, who would you want to make decisions for you?
By partnering with an elder law attorney and creating your POA, you’re able to lay out what you want, don’t want, and who you trust to speak on your behalf, as well as who will carry out your wishes.
Here are 3 ways a power of attorney can empower you.
1. Decide What You Want
Healthcare decisions like medication, treatment, and who provides care are all elements that can be included in your power of attorney. End-of-life decisions can also be included. Do you have a specific way that you want pain medications handled?
Your financial power of attorney will lay out how you want your money handled. Do you have assets that need to be managed? Gifts? Your financial POA will include any of your wishes regarding your finances.
2. Decide What You Don’t Want
Your expectations for how you want your healthcare or finances handled may not be what your loved ones had in mind. By having a conversation with them and also including in your power of attorney what you don’t want, a difficult decision can be made less confusing.
3. Decide Who You Want to Speak on Your Behalf
Do you have one family member who is particularly good with numbers? Maybe that’s the person who should be in charge of your financial POA. Who do you trust most with end-of-life decisions? Who will make sure that your wishes are carried out the way you planned? A power of attorney allows you to legally choose who will have the honor of speaking on your behalf.
Should I Have a Power of Attorney?
YES! It’s beneficial to have a power of attorney as soon as the age of 18 – when you no longer have parents or guardians as legal decision-makers.
Consider partnering with an elder law attorney to decide the best choices and what to include in your personal legal documents. You can start by visiting these Senior Resources:
Suzanne Newman, host of the Answers for Elders radio show and podcast, proclaims often, “Caring for my mom was the hardest thing I ever have done, but it was also my greatest privilege.” Following a career of over 25 years in sales, media, and marketing management, Suzanne embarked on a 6-year-journey caring for her mother. Her trials and tribulations as a family caregiver inspired an impassioned life mission outside of the corporate world to revolutionize the journey that so many other American families also find themselves on. Answers for Elders provides education, help, and support to families, caregivers, and seniors across the country who are experiencing their own unique journey within the complicated world of Eldercare. Each week, Suzanne is joined by vetted professional experts in over 65 categories including health & wellness, life changes, living options, money, law, and more. Suzanne lives in Edmonds, Washington with her husband, Keith, and their two doodle dogs, Whidbey and Skagit.