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Do I Need a Power of Attorney?

As we and our family members and other loved ones age, we increase the odds of having to deal with debilitating illnesses like dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. However, even young people can be in an accident and not have full mental capacity. It’s for this reason that you should have power(s) of attorney in place for your health and property if you are 18 years of age or older (below 18, your parents can legally make decisions for you, but at 18, you are an adult in the eyes of the law and need to have a directive in place).

While you can search for forms online, we always advocate using a trusted estate planning attorney who specializes in powers of attorney to make sure that you receive the appropriate legal advice.

Make sure to get a health care power of attorney- which is called different things in different venues- such as an Advance Health Care Directive, Medical Durable Power of Attorney, Designation Health Care Surrogate or other name.

For your property, you will want to get something that’s typically referred to as a Durable Power of Attorney.

Be sure to work with your trusted legal advisor to clearly convey your wishes, so that you do not leave a difficult decision to weigh on a loved one. Also, be sure to have a conversation with the Power of Attorney grantee(s), so that they fully understand your wishes, as well.

For more information on what you should ask your estate planning attorney related to Powers of Attorney and to make sure you have fully planned in case something happens to you or a loved one, consult the Future File system.