The contents of a basic estate plan focus on what will happen to someone’s property when they die. Someone can leave instructions for their assets and the care of their loved ones with a simple will and no other paperwork.
However, quite a few adults add additional documents to their estate plans for their own protection and the improved support of their immediate family members in the event of an emergency. For example, powers of attorney are popular inclusions in modern estate plans. These documents take effect while someone is still alive but has been incapacitated due to injury or illness and they cannot advocate on behalf of their own interests as a result.
Why do people choose to add powers of attorney to their estate plans?
They want to protect against the unpredictable
Especially if someone is an adult without a spouse, they could end up in a very vulnerable position after a car crash or medical emergency. Not only would there likely be no one to speak up about their medical wishes, but they may not have proper support to manage their finances while they remain incapacitated.
Powers of attorney name someone else to handle someone’s finances and can also give someone the authority to guide medical treatment for someone incapacitated.
They want to support their families
People frequently have a hard time coping with the stress that arises when a family member requires extensive medical care. Having a parent or spouse in the hospital can be difficult to handle. The levels of stress involved can affect someone’s memory and also their decision-making.
Those who worry that their loved ones would not handle that level of stress well may want to draft powers of attorney so that they provide clear guidance for their loved ones. They can name someone else as their agent so that the people closest to them won’t have to worry about handling finances or healthcare matters.
Adults who add more comprehensive documents to their estate plans can both effectively protect themselves against emergency situations and also protect their loved ones from the stress involved in a medical emergency. Adding the right documents to estate plans and keeping them up to date with the assistance of a legal professional can protect testators and their close family members.