Many people have the mistaken belief that if they should become unable to make decisions on their own, that their loved ones will be able to step in and take care of things. Whether the incapacitation is a permanent condition or just temporary, however, there are many things that loved ones can't do unless they are granted specific legal authorities. This can be done by obtaining legal guardianship, which is difficult and often time consuming, or by being named with a Power of Attorney.
The individual (or individuals) given Power of Attorney will be able to make all legal decisions on your behalf should you become unable. This is extremely important for ensuring your wishes are always carried out when you are unable to act on your own. The following are some of the many things that your loved ones (often, even your spouse) can't do for you without power of attorney:
Pay Your Bills
While your loved ones can certainly pay your bills, it will have to be with their own money! Legally speaking, they are not permitted to access your bank accounts unless they are already named on the accounts, which typically isn't the case (with the possible exception of your spouse). With a Power of Attorney, however, they will be able to set up payments and ensure everything is kept up-to-date while you're unable to do it on your own.
Filing your taxes is another thing that many people don't think about, but is extremely important. Even those who are incapacitated need to pay their taxes, so making sure you have someone identified to handle this ahead of time is very important. The IRS is not known for their compassion, so even if you are in a coma, you can be racking up late fees and penalties if your taxes aren't taken care of.
Make Investment Decisions
Managing your financial investments requires a lot more than just ‘setting it and forgetting it.' You need to make adjustments from time to time to ensure you're getting the results you want. Your loved ones can't step in and begin making investment decisions on your behalf without being specifically given Power of Attorney over such matters.
Decide What Medical Treatment is Given
Most people have something in mind in terms of what types of medical treatment they would want in a given situation. However, it is impossible to write down the treatment you would want in every possible scenario where you are unable to choose for yourself. Granting someone who you trust to act in the way you would want is the best option in these situations, and that is all done with a Power of Attorney.
Choose Who Bathes Them
Many people don't think about these types of things, but when you are incapacitated, you will need someone else to do everything for you, from feeding to using the bathroom. Identifying how you want the most personal things handled now can help ensure you are taken care of how you want, and by whom you want. These are not decisions that your loved ones can always make without the right legal documents.
We Can Help Set Up a Power of Attorney for You
To put it simply, a Power of Attorney doesn't just grant certain people certain rights. It helps to ensure you and your estate are taken care of in the way that you desire. If you want to learn more about Maryland Powers of Attorney and how it can help you, please contact The Tyra Law Firm today.