An effective estate plan is made of several pieces, all essential to completing the puzzle. Most people know they must create a will to administer their assets. However, not everyone knows the other important steps, including designating a durable power of attorney.
Granting someone as your durable power of attorney gives them the power to make important decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. While no one wants to consider being unable to voice their own decisions, accidents and illnesses can happen at any time. Assigning a loved one as your power of attorney will allow them to make health care and end-of-life choices on your behalf.
Someone to fulfill your wishes
As mentioned in a previous blog, there are four types of power of attorneys to choose from in New Jersey. The four types are general, durable, limited and spring. It is important to understand the differences. A durable power of attorney is valid when an individual becomes incapacitated.
Choosing a durable power of attorney will take some consideration. You must determine a responsible and trustworthy loved one. However, this individual will not necessarily have complete decision-making power in case of incapacity. This person can be someone who ensures your wishes are fulfilled.
It goes hand--in-hand with a living will
Another piece to the estate plan puzzle is a living will. A living will provides direction for physicians and your family members regarding medical treatment. It can give your preferences for doctors, nurses, treatment and what to do in case of terminal illness. Your durable power of attorney can use the living will as a clear directive for health care decisions.
You are able to give the power of attorney as little or as much power as you wish. As long as their direction is consistent with your living will, they may be able to decide what medical facilities you go to, which doctors should handle your care, visitation rights and more. The first step to designating your power of attorney is to contact an attorney. They can help you create a complete estate plan involving a power of attorney, a living will and a will for your assets.