MICHELLE SMALENBERGER, CFP®
As it’s the summer and we’re all excited to go off to a vacation somewhere nice and lay on the beach, or be in the sunshine, I’m sure that many of us are probably forgetting to pack something that’s really important. Today we’re going to be talking about “packing” your POA, or power of attorney.
So, a power of attorney is an important document that you should have created that names someone to make decisions for you when you can’t. One time when you need to have a power of attorney in place that we just assume that we already have that authority is your spouse. Just because you’re married to someone doesn’t mean that if a doctor asks what you want to happen that you will be the person that they come to and can take authority from. It’s very important that having your power of attorney drafted, if it’s your spouse, be sure that you have that with you, because when you’re away from home, you’re not with your primary care doctor. So, these are doctors who don’t know you. They don’t know that you’ve been married for many years, and you haven’t in advance said that this is the person I want to make choices for me.
The next is children who are over ages 18 or 21, the age of majority depending on the state. It’s not automatic that just because you are their parent, that you can make the choice for them, or you can tell the doctor what to do. So, it’s really important that they actually have a power of attorney that says that you are the person to make those choices for them.
These are just common times that we think that we have that authority, when we are the parent or the spouse, but we don’t legally. So, it’s really important having that power of attorney drafted, have it accessible. Whether that’s having in online, on a drive, via email, or having your financial advisor have a copy of it. Hopefully, they’re helping to organize you to make sure you have all these documents, and that they’re accessible when you need them. But this is just something that’s really important that we probably leave out of our packing list when we’re trying to pick the best outfit to wear, or the best activity to do. But it’s really important, especially when you’re going to be away from home.
So, if you don’t have a power of attorney in place, please reach out to us so we can help you move forward in getting that completed, in case something does happen.