Has a loved one named you their financial power of attorney? Are you ready to take on all the responsibilities that entails? Hopefully, you won’t be called into action anytime soon, but with the coronavirus pandemic continuing, it’s something to think about.
In these uncertain times, it’s more important than ever to have your legal, financial and medical ducks in a row. Sadly, when serious illness strikes it is usually quite rapid and often unexpected. In these times, however, we do have forewarning that we are all at risk of contracting COVID-19, the coronavirus.
A power of attorney is a document that lets you appoint a person or an organization to handle the financial and medical decisions on your behalf, when you are not able to because of sickness or death. The person or the organization is called the attorney-in-fact or the agent. POA is given to someone whom you can trust with your life.
What would happen if you were mentally or physically unable to take care of yourself or your day-to-day affairs? You might not be able to make sound decisions about your health or finances. You could lose the ability to pay bills, write checks, make deposits, sell assets, or otherwise conduct your affairs. Unless you’re prepared, incapacity could devastate your family, exhaust your savings and undermine your financial, tax and estate planning strategies.
If someone has lost capacity to execute legal documents and has no power of attorney in place or has a power of attorney that is no longer usable (for example, if the named agents are deceased), a guardianship proceeding may be the only recourse.