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Why a power of attorney isn’t restrictive

On Behalf of | Jun 5, 2023 | Estate Planning |

A power of attorney is an estate planning document that you can use to plan for the future. For instance, if you become incapacitated, someone needs to be able to make your financial decisions for you. They may also need to make your medical decisions, or at least work with your medical team. You can use a power of attorney to specify who is allowed to do so.

But this may feel like it’s going to be a bit restrictive. If you turn over the right to make medical decisions to someone else, what does that mean for you? Are you going to lose control of your own life and your own choices?

A springing power of attorney

The reason that you don’t need to worry about this is that a power of attorney is generally set up so that it doesn’t change anything at the time that it is created. Instead, it specifies that the stipulations in the power of attorney only going to come into play if you are incapacitated. In other words, nothing changes with your right at the moment.

But say that you have a heart attack or a stroke. You suddenly cannot communicate with doctors to tell them about what type of treatment you would want or if there’s a type of treatment that you are against. If you spend a long time in the hospital, you may not have anyone to simply pay your bills and take care of your affairs. In a situation like that, the power of attorney is triggered, and the other person takes over. But you don’t have to worry about any restrictions in your life prior to that point.

Creating your documents

A power of attorney does have to be unique to every individual who uses it. Take the time to carefully consider your options, who you want to choose to be your agent and the legal steps you need to take.