Why your estate plan needs a power of attorney for medical issues

The best estate plans are comprehensive and plan for a wide range of potential life circumstances. Ideally, you will live a full and healthy life for many years after the creation of your last will and estate plan. However, life can sometimes take surprising courses, and your estate plan should take common life issues into consideration.

Even if you are currently healthy, you could experience a sudden illness, injury or degenerative condition that renders you unable to provide for yourself and your family. Planning now for the possibility of being medically incapacitated is a wise decision.

You can create an advance directive as part of your estate plan that includes your medical wishes for a variety of scenarios, including whether you want to be an organ donor and how you feel about resuscitation when your health is failing. Does your spouse or your family know what your feelings are about prolonged comas or conditions that leave you dependent on machines to sustain life? It can feel morbid to think these issues over, but the peace of mind that comes from addressing each potential health situation will benefit you and the people you love if the worst ever does happen.

What's the point of a power of attorney?

In addition to creating an advance directive that addresses various medical scenarios, you also need to consider assigning power of attorney to someone you trust. Many people balk at this concept, as they don't want to give legal rights over their decision making and finances to anyone, even a spouse or child.

However, in Georgia, durable and special power of attorney arrangements can protect you from losing your autonomy. Your power of attorney can give specific situations in which it can be used, such as prolonged medical incapacitation or loss of mental faculties.

Many critical decisions can end up not handled properly without a power of attorney. Power of attorney will give someone else the ability to make medical decisions, pay your bills or deal with any other personal and financial issues that arise. You can place limits on that authority to ensure that it isn't abused. You should also give careful consideration to the person you entrust with the power of attorney in the event of an accident or medical issue. Working with an experienced Georgia probate and estate attorney can help ensure you aren't left vulnerable due to incorrectly executing a power of attorney form.

Your attorney can protect you and your family

Thorough estate planning will give you and your family peace of mind about your end-of-life care, medical decisions and preferences, and the handling of your assets. Assigning power of attorney to someone you trust in case of medical issues ensures your wishes are carried out and that you will receive the care and support you need.

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