Powers of Attorney: Care for You & Your Loved Ones
As much as we’d like to, we can’t take our stuff with us when we pass away.
What if we’re still alive, and aren’t capable of making life decisions – whether we are in a coma, have dementia, or just aren’t able to?
Ever wondered who gets to pay our bills, make healthcare decisions, or sell our stuff?
I'm Lawyer Alexandria Serra, this is Lawyer Talk Thursday (catch it every week on Instagram @alexandriaserra), and you're about to find out.
Power of Attorney Versus Wills
Allow me to tell you about Powers of Attorney – what they are and why you need one, as soon as possible.
2020 got us thinking about how precious life is – but most people are still unprepared if something happens. When looking at care options, you should know that wills are different from Powers of Attorney. Wills set out how property is distributed after a property owner passes away. Powers of Attorney are valid while one is living and help if you become incapacitated by injury, illness, in jail, etc.
Different Needs, Different Types
Although there are a few types of Powers of Attorney, such as Limited Power of Attorney for motor vehicle transactions or tax collection. To help you and your loved ones make sure things are taken care of are really two main types. Those are:
Durable and Medical Power of Attorneys don’t do the same thing. They do, however, both require you to pick a person, called an “agent” to make decisions for you if you are incapacitated.
Property & Medical Care
Durable Powers of Attorney give someone permission to make decisions about your property. While Medical Powers of Attorney gives someone permission to make decisions about your medical care.
The person appointed to be the Powers of Attorney can be family or not, as long as they are 18 years old, of sound mind, and you get the document notarized.
If you have a power of attorney but your circumstances have changed, like your agent died, you got in a fight, or something else – MAKE SURE YOU CHANGE IT. Good thing is that with a divorce, if your ex is named as an agent, he or she is no longer able to make those decisions as of the day the divorce is granted.
Your agent can’t tell you what to do – a Power of Attorney just allows that person to do things for you – you can still do what you need to do!
You can also give folks special powers of attorney over certain things, like to sell real estate for you. And you can revoke them (get rid of them) any time you want, as long as you do that in writing.
Do you need a lawyer for a Powers of Attorney? Not necessarily. You can find free and helpful forms online. If you’re a fellow Texan, you can view more information and necessary forms here: https://assets.recenter.tamu.edu/documents/articles/2044.pdf
Get your affairs in order, ASAP. If you have questions, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org