East Brunswick, New Jersey

Who needs to add powers of attorney to their estate plans?

On Behalf of | Mar 22, 2024 | Uncategorized

Estate planning is a very important legal process. It allows an adult to establish a legacy after they die. Estate planning gives someone an opportunity to meet the needs of dependent family members and even to plan for the possibility of a personal emergency in the future.

Many people never bother to establish estate plans, and a large percentage of those who do draft estate plans only create wills. Those who establish more thorough estate plans can protect themselves and their loved ones in a broader range of circumstances.

Powers of attorney are among the more popular documents added to an estate plan. They are effective during incapacitation but lose their authority after someone dies. Who might benefit from the creation of powers of attorney?

Most adults require the protection of living documents

Many people misunderstand their legal rights and protections. For example, college students and professionals just starting their careers often assume that their parents or closest family members can take care of them during an emergency.

However, medical privacy laws and other statutes prevent parents or family members from acting on behalf of an adult without special paperwork. Once someone turns 18, their parents can no longer access medical records or make choices about their care. They also lose access to a young adults financial resources.

If an emergency renders someone unconscious for an extended period of time or incapable of communicating with others, powers of attorney are often the only way to grant someone they trust access to financial resources or authority to make medical decisions on their behalf. Individuals who marry do have a degree of protection, as their spouses may be able to make medical choices or access their financial assets.

Certain people may need power of attorney protections more than others. Unmarried adults with unusual medical preferences may find that they have a more pressing need for someone to speak on their behalf in the event of an emergency.

Those with assets at risk in an emergency, such as a financed vehicle or a home with a mortgage attached, may also need to arrange to have someone handle their affairs. Small business owners and individuals running professional practices are among those who might derive more benefit from powers of attorney than the average person.

Almost anyone who is legally an adult could potentially derive benefits from powers of attorney and other living documents. Taking the time to establish comprehensive estate plans can help to protect people from financial hardship and improper medical care. Seeking legal guidance is a good way to get started.