I have found that most people postpone completing their estate documents not because of lack of time or interest, but because they haven’t given enough thought to who their “key players” could be. One of those key players is your executor. The others are your powers of attorney.
Note: there are healthcare powers of attorney and financial powers of attorney. You might want different people for each role, so let’s discuss both.
Who should be my Healthcare Power of Attorney?
1. Someone nearby
Your healthcare power of attorney might have to be the person at your bedside telling the doctors your end-of-life medical wishes. If your power of attorney lives across the country, they might not be there to observe and understand your physical outlook. Traveling could be burdensome. Choose someone who can be there quickly and easily.
2. Someone emotional steady
Again, imagine an individual standing at your bedside and advocating for your health. You want to ensure they are strong enough to fight for your health if needed or even make the decision to remove medical intervention if necessary. Choose a healthcare power of attorney who can remain steady despite the emotions.
Who should be my Financial Power of Attorney?
1. Again – Someone nearby
Your financial power of attorney will make decisions and sign documents for you. This usually occurs during a period where a doctor has confirmed you do not have the mental capacity to decide or act on your own behalf. While electronic signing is feasible in today’s world, it is definitely easier to have some local who can take care of your financial business.
2. Someone you trust
Your financial power of attorney has a lot of power. They are essentially acting as you. One of the only things they can’t do is change beneficiaries on your accounts. Anything else is mostly fair game. For that reason, you want to choose someone who is competent and most importantly, trustworthy.
3. Someone with time and energy
While your power of attorney doesn’t necessarily have to be young, they need to have the time and most importantly, the wherewithal, to handle your affairs. Consider choosing someone who is not exceptionally busy or aging.
My goal is to remove one more barrier to you completing your estate documents! It is too important to your loved ones to wait.