Learn how power of attorney documents can help you be prepared.
The specter of disaster haunts each of us, in the back of our minds. Some disasters are more likely to occur in some places than others. Whether it is hurricanes on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, earthquakes on the west coast, tornadoes in the Midwest, or a more personal disaster, each of us has his or her own risks and fears.
Unfortunately, you cannot prevent disaster from striking. Whether it is a devastating hurricane like Katrina, a tsunami, a great earthquake, or a more personal tragedy, all we can do, if we are lucky, is get out of the way.
But, you can plan for such an event so that things are easier for you and your loved ones if and when disaster strikes. In addition to the basics of an emergency preparedness kit, you can have the documents in place that allow for the legal aspects of your life to continue.
For example, you can prepare a Power of Attorney for financial matters. This power allows the person you designate, your “agent,” to make decisions regarding your property when you are unable to do so. A Health Care Power of Attorney allows your agent to make health care decisions when you are unable to make them for yourself. You can make sure that you provide these documents to those whom you appoint. You can make sure that you have a revocable living trust in place, to allow someone else to step in during your incapacity, while avoiding probate in the event of death.
If desired, you can provide a copy of these documents to a trusted person who lives elsewhere, so that the documents are safe in the event of a disaster in your hometown. While originals are preferred, a copy of these documents may be sufficient to have your wishes accomplished, though with somewhat greater difficulty.
Perhaps the best part of planning is that you can rest easier knowing things are taken care of. You’ll know that your sister in Tulsa will have the legal rights to manage your assets or get medical care for your children. You’ll know that your mother in Cincinnati will be able to make health care decisions for you. You’ll know that your documents are safe in Denver as you worry about the storm affecting your coastal area.
So, as you put your emergency plan in place and stock up on drinking water, a first aid kit, and other essentials, do not forget to do your legal planning. This will ensure that you can focus on what you need to protect yourself and your loved ones if and when disaster strikes in your life.
A qualified estate planning attorney can help you do your legal planning so that you can focus on more immediate concerns if disaster strikes in your life. Contact us to schedule a free one-hour personal consultation.
Compliments of the McGee Law Firm, Attorney Brandon McGee
Written By: The American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys