None of us like to think about accidents, injuries or illness. Unfortunately, it is a part of life. When accidents or illnesses occur, it can make it impossible to make decisions for yourself. Having a power of attorney in place will help ensure your financial obligations and health care needs are handled by someone you select and trust.

What is a power of attorney?

In Delaware – and many states – there are two types of powers of attorney: a durable (or financial) power of attorney and a medical power of attorney. In both cases you name a trusted individual to act on your behalf, either in regards to your finances, or your health care.

Taking care of your finances

Nothing is guaranteed when we walk out of the door in the morning. On any given day there is the possibility of being in an accident. If you are severely injured, and are unable to communicate or manage your financial affairs, problems can ensue. Mortgage payments may be missed and bills may go unpaid. Without a power of attorney it may be impossible for family members to access your accounts to take care of your financial obligations.

For business owners, the risk is even greater. Employees must be paid and the business must continue on – especially if you are the primary breadwinner in the family. Without access to your business accounts, your company may have to close its doors.

Making health decisions for you

Many people have strong feels about medical treatment, including the types of treatment they want to receive and types they prefer to forgo. If you don’t have a medical power of attorney, you don’t know who will be making medical decisions on your behalf. Naming a person you trust with your health will not only help to ensure your medical wishes are respected in the future, it will give you peace of mind today.

If you have been diagnosed with a serious illness or disease, or if you are at risk of dementia, it is especially important to develop a medical power of attorney.

Protect yourself and your finances

Unfortunately there are people in this world who prey on individuals who can no longer make decisions on their behalf. Too many elderly people end up losing large amounts of money because they are no longer able to protect themselves against these scam artists. Putting both a financial and medical power of attorney in place today will safeguard you in the future.