Many people understand why they would need a medical power of attorney. This document helps you if you’re not able to make medical decisions. It legally chooses another person who has been granted the power to do so. They’re known as your agent, and they can make decisions in your best interests. You know that you have someone on your side and that someone is authorized to make those choices when they’re most needed.
But why would you want a legal power of attorney? In many ways, this is the same, but it performs a very different function. It is important to have both, and you need to know why.
Medical decisions aren’t the only ones that need to be made
In a situation where you may not be able to make certain choices on your own, perhaps due to a degenerative brain disease or maybe because of some sort of injury or illness that you’ve acquired, there are other parts of your life that still have to move forward. You may be in this condition for a significant amount of time, or perhaps until you pass away, and someone else has to take care of a lot of your affairs. Examples of things that your power of attorney may do include:
- Paying off your property taxes every year, filing your income taxes and paying any other fees that are due to the government.
- Selling your family home and other assets if needed.
- Paying for your long-term care needs, if you’re in the hospital or staying in a nursing home or assisted living center.
- Accessing your bank accounts and other financial accounts, such as retirement funds or investment portfolios.
- Handling your income, if you still have one, or dealing with government benefits.
There are many legal and financial choices that you’re still required to make. If you’re unable to do so, whether it’s for a short time or if this is a long-term change, you need to know that you have the right person making those choices on your behalf, just as you would with medical decisions. Be sure you know about all of the legal steps to take to get everything set up.