What if you become sick or disabled, either temporarily or permanently? What if you get into a car wreck? Who will make decisions for you?
- A power of attorney (POA) allows you to appoint someone you trust to handle your affairs if you cannot do so.
- If you cannot pay bills, get records, or make other decisions, your family will be prevented from helping you get treatment, pay doctors, or file for Medicare.
- Without a POA, your family may have to file a Guardianship and/or Conservatorship proceeding. This process involves the Court, several lawyers and usually at least $4,000 to $50,000 (this range is dependent upon whether the Guardianship and/or Conservatorship is challenged. A POA might cost $200.
- A business owner – regardless of age – should always have a POA in place to ensure that someone can still run the business, pay bills, taxes, and employees, and make day-to-day decisions if he or she is incapacitated. In many cases, if a business owner is unable to run his or her business even for a very short time, the business may fail or suffer significant damage.
Note: Although you want to make sure that your POA gives your designee enough “powers” to act, giving your designee too many powers can be very risky. It’s important that you discuss your specific needs with an attorney who is familiar with the implications of this document and who can assess any risks involved. Otherwise, your POA could cause you more harm than help!