Powers Of Attorney Make Your Wishes Known

Many people think of a will as a means of leaving instructions for how one's assets should be distributed upon his or her death. In fact, an essential component of every estate plan we create at John J. Pembroke & Associates LLC is power of attorney for property and health care decisions.

These documents provide specific and important legal authority regarding who should make decisions regarding financial matters and medical treatment if you become incapacitated and cannot make those decisions yourself. By some accounts, as little as 30 percent of American adults have power of attorney documents in place.

What Happens When Power Of Attorney Is Not Designated?

A person who establishes power of attorney for property and health care will designate one or more individuals whom they trust to make decisions for them if they are incapacitated.

If a person becomes comatose or otherwise incapacitated and power of attorney (also commonly referred to as a living will) has not been established, your loved ones must navigate complex legal proceedings in order to make financial or medical decisions on your behalf. Family members may disagree what your wishes would be, which can lead to costly litigation at a time when your loved ones are already on edge emotionally.

Including advance directives in your comprehensive estate plan ensures your wishes regarding end-of-life health care measures will be followed and saves your loved ones from having to make these difficult decisions.

Your Decisions May Change

As with any part of an estate plan, your wishes regarding powers of attorney may change over time. It is always wise to review these documents with an attorney every five to seven years to make sure the proper people are still named as your agents. We can review an existing document and make any changes that are necessary.

Our experienced estate planning lawyers welcome the opportunity to discuss powers of attorney with you and put the proper documents in place. Call 707-770-9422 or use our online contact form to schedule a meeting.