Why You Should Have Powers of Attorney
It happens to all of us, eventually. At some point in your life, you might find it difficult to direct your personal and financial affairs or to make decisions regarding your medical care. Illness or accident can strike at any time. If you have not executed financial and medical powers of attorney, your loved ones will be forced to go to court and have a guardian and/or conservator appointed to manage your affairs. This can be a lengthy and costly process, which is obviously a detriment if your medical condition is rapidly changing. Also, by default, under the law, the court may end up appointing distant or estranged family members, doctors, or courts who do not know your wishes and preferences. This is why it is critical to execute powers of attorney as part of any estate plan.
Through powers of attorney, you can designate loved ones or friends whom you trust to make important decisions on your behalf when you are no longer able to do so for yourself. It is the last piece of control you have over your personal affairs, your medical care, and your financial affairs if an unexpected event arises.
These are all difficult things to discuss or even contemplate, but they are important and should be addressed sooner rather than later. If you need help setting up Powers of Attorney, contact Keenan Copple today at (303) 819-6415 or reach out online to schedule a confidential consultation.
What Is a Power of Attorney?
A power of attorney is a document that allows a person to designate another individual to make certain types of decisions on behalf of the person, either on a permanent basis or upon the occurrence of some event. Any person 18 years of age or older who is of sound mind can create, revise, and/or revoke a power of attorney.
The person who creates the power of attorney is known as a “principal”, while the person or entity chosen to act as the principal’s representative is called an “agent” or an “attorney-in-fact”. Under Colorado law, a power of attorney document must be in writing and must meet certain standards.
Powers of attorney can cover many different aspects of life, although in practice they tend to fall into one of two categories.
Financial Powers of Attorney
Many people establish a power of attorney to enable a trusted loved one or friend to manage their personal and financial affairs if they become incapacitated. If you are injured or ill, someone will need to do things such as filling your taxes, paying your mortgage or renewing your lease. A durable power of attorney allows an agent or attorney-in-fact to continue serving even after you are incapacitated and unable to act for yourself.
Medical Powers of Attorney
You can also use a medical power of attorney to designate a person to make medical decisions and end-of-life choices on your behalf if you are unable to do so. This document will clearly set forth who you would like to be in charge if you are hospitalized and can also state your values and preferences when it comes to your medical treatment and end-of-life care.
Executing powers of attorney is critical to ensuring that only the people you trust are making decisions for you, especially when you are unable to make those decisions yourself. You cannot simply assume that someone close to you, such as a spouse or a partner, will automatically be able to make those decisions. Instead, those decisions may legally fall by default to a biological family member, or may not fall to anyone unless they seek an order from the courts.
How We Can Help You
If you are considering creating powers of attorney, you should seek the counsel and assistance of an experienced estate planning attorney. An attorney can advise you as to your options for powers of attorney and can help you through the process of deciding who you should select to serve as your agent or attorney-in-fact.
After getting to know your goals and wishes, your lawyer can recommend what kind of powers of attorney you will need to execute and what kinds of provisions those documents should include. An attorney will also ensure that your powers of attorney work in tandem with the rest of your estate plan, including you will, trusts, living trusts, and joint accounts.
Schedule a Consultation
If you want to ensure that decisions are made on your behalf by only those closest to you whom you trust, especially in situations where you are unable to make those decisions for yourself, you may want to consider executing powers of attorney. Keenan Copple will be here to help you understand how a powers of attorney works, and how to create one that will make things easier on you and your family in the event that it is needed.
Contact The Law Office of Keenan Copple PC today to schedule a confidential consultation with us today. We understand that you may be unfamiliar with this process, so we’ll be here to help you every step of the way. We make it easy for our clients to create these vital legal instruments to protect themselves and their families, and we want to do the same for you.
We’re available by phone at (303) 819-6415 or fill out a contact form to get in touch with us online today.