As our family members and loved ones age in Missouri, planning for their future care and well-being becomes a top priority. One of the essential tools for this purpose is a power of attorney (POA). The POA is a legal document that a person uses to choose someone they trust to make decisions if they should become incapacitated or can no longer make decisions on their own.
Many people have difficulty accepting that they could become incapacitated one day. The conversation requires a gentle approach, and if someone resists, the best plan is to give them time to think about the idea instead of forcing the issue. The following information can help you assist a loved one in making a POA when the timing is right.
Explain the benefits
Your loved one may not fully understand what a POA does and how it can help them. Take some time to explain how the POA will empower them by ensuring their wishes, not anyone else’s, are followed for healthcare, financial considerations and other important decisions.
Discuss the scope
In estate planning, two different types of POA exist. One covers healthcare decisions while the other covers financial decisions. Within each type, your loved one can specify detailed instructions about which decisions their designated POA can make.
It is essential to help your loved one understand the scope of the document and to clarify how much authority they grant to another person. They can grant authority for all decisions or only specific ones.
Listen to any concerns
Before executing a POA, your loved one might need to discuss their fears regarding handing personal decisions over to someone else. Individuals often fear being taken advantage of or losing control over their affairs. Reassure your loved one that the POA can actually prevent this from happening and will ensure their wishes are respected.
Review and update POAs regularly
Once your loved one has an executed POA, help them perform a periodic review as circumstances can change over time. Their POA might need to be adjusted to consider new situations.
POAs are legal documents, and requirements vary by state about how the documents must be drafted and executed.
Helping your loved one understand the benefits and importance of having a POA can ensure peace of mind that a POA is a beneficial and important document to have on file.