As you age, you have no guarantees on what the future holds. You cannot know whether or not you will always be able to make decisions for yourself. U.S. News explains how a power of attorney is a solution to the unpredictable future.
The following questions can help you to determine the benefit of a power of attorney.
When does a medical power of attorney become necessary?
Ideally, you should set up a power of attorney in early adulthood. If anything happens to you, regardless of age, who can make decisions for your healthcare becomes complex after the age of 18. Most people start to think about establishing a medical power of attorney later in life, however.
If you were to suffer from a stroke or any other illness that causes incapacitation, you could no longer consent to medical treatment. In a power of attorney, you designate someone to take your place. He or she makes the decisions regarding your healthcare. If you have no power of attorney, legal battles could ensue over who should make decisions.
What happens if you have no medical power of attorney?
If you have no medical power of attorney, you go into guardianship or conservatorship. While some power of attorney documents provide the same provisions, when you have input, then it is your choice. A guardian has absolute power and unless you choose someone, the court will make a decision instead.
When you assign power of attorney responsibilities to someone, you need to choose someone that cares for you. Generally, people choose a family member. If you have a close professional friend, however, he or she may work too.