Five Signs It’s Time to Consider Power of Attorney for a Loved One

by | Sep 6, 2021 | estate planning

Discussing end-of-life care and decision-making in the event a loved one becomes unable to make important health-related and financial decisions on their own can be difficult. However, the best time to draft a legally binding power of attorney is before it is actually needed. If your loved one waits until the point when they are unable to make decisions for themselves due to being incapacitated or disabled, it can make things much more challenging for you and their other loved ones.

California Estate Planning Attorneys

The estate planning attorneys at Galanti and Copenhaver have many years of experience drafting power of attorney documents and handling many other estate planning matters. Our attorneys can help you draft a power of attorney or other legal documents that best suit your needs. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to meet with one of our lawyers and learn about how we can assist you as you begin estate planning.

Benefits of Drafting a Power of Attorney

Power of attorney documents let a person designate an agent to step in and make vital decisions on their behalf in the event they become incapacitated in some way and are unable to do this for themselves. There are many benefits to drafting a power of attorney document. With this document in place, you can ensure that you have control over how you want health decisions to be made or how you want financial matters handled.

These documents allow you to choose an agent to carry out your wishes for end-of-life care or financial decisions. Without a power of attorney document ready, it is possible that someone appointed by a judge will make these crucial decisions. Drafting a power of attorney also allows you to have important discussions with your loved ones regarding your wishes and can help ensure that any decisions made on your behalf by your agent are following your wishes.

Financial Power of Attorney Versus Health Care Power of Attorney

There are two major categories of power of attorney documents. The first is a financial power of attorney. With a financial power of attorney, you can give someone of your choosing the ability to make financial decisions on your behalf if you cannot do so. You can also control the extent of this power.

A health care power of attorney document allows you to choose someone to make necessary health care decisions on your behalf. For example, some people do not want extraordinary measures taken to prolong their lives (such as life support). With a health care power of attorney, you can ensure that your wishes are followed.

Signs That a Loved One May Need to Create a Power of Attorney

As your grandparents, parents, and other close relatives age, it is essential to watch for signs that they may need assistance planning for their future. Although it can be difficult to think about and talk about, drafting a power of attorney is an excellent way to protect someone you love as they get older.

1. Difficulty Managing Financial Responsibilities

One sign that your loved one may need to create a power of attorney is that they are having a hard time managing their financial responsibilities. Bills can pile up, and if your loved one is not staying on top of their finances and paying their bills on time, there can be significant consequences. If they are having trouble remembering to manage these responsibilities, it might be time to have a power of attorney in place to step in if needed.

2. Alzheimer’s Disease and Cognitive Decline

If your loved one is in the very early stages of cognitive decline and may even be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in the near future, it is time to draft a power of attorney for their protection. When an elderly individual is deemed mentally incapacitated, it is often too late for them to legally consent to creating a power of attorney or signing other legal documents. For this reason, it is crucial to move forward with drafting a power of attorney at the first sign of cognitive decline.

3. Medical Diagnoses and Upcoming Procedures

Even if your loved one is still very capable of handling their own health care decisions and financial matters, if they receive a diagnosis of a terminal condition or have a risky medical procedure coming up, it is best to have a power of attorney in place. With health care and financial power of attorney in place, the designated agent can step in and make important decisions on their behalf if their health declines quickly or if there is a complication with surgery or other medical procedure.

Why Choose Galanti & Copenhaver, Inc.

At Galanti & Copenhaver, Inc. we are committed to delivering personalized legal guidance to you that is individually tailored to your unique circumstances.  If you want more information or are considering a power of attorney for a loved one, contact us today at 707-538-6074 or fill out our online contact form.