Thinking about what should happen to your estate after you pass away can feel morbid and is a task no one wants to undertake. A better way of thinking is that good estate planning is all about being prepared for the future – especially when it comes to choosing a power of attorney.
Appointing a power of attorney is something you can do at any time. It’s often overlooked because people feel like they don’t need to worry about it until they’re ill and can no longer look after themselves. Handling this process is better to do when you have time to think about it and talk to your power of attorney about what you want.
Here are two things you should think about before you choose your powers of attorney:
1. Is it a role they want to take on?
Your power of attorney can make decisions about your healthcare as well as your property and finances (if you choose the same person for both duties).
Given the fact that your power of attorney may need to make literal life-or-death decisions on your behalf, it needs to be someone you trust and who wants to take on the role. They need to be someone strong enough to fight for your rights, even if this is contrary to what other family members want. They also need to be capable of stepping into your shoes and handling your affairs.
2. Are they close enough to you?
While not essential, your power of attorney should ideally live reasonably close to you. They should be someone you see regularly and can get to you quickly if there’s an emergency. As they have responsibilities towards you when the power of attorney is in place, you need to be able to call on them to help when you need it.
Planning your estate is something that you can do at any point in your life. As soon as you have children, it’s a good idea to start thinking about it. Seeking legal guidance with the process can help you to make sure you have everything in place that you need.