Power of Attorney and You: 4 Myths You Shouldn’t Believe

Wills and estates lawyers recommend that you make an enduring power of attorney (EPoA) to act as a safeguard for when you may become mentally incapacitated. Unfortunately, not too many people make these EPoAs.

This is something that wills and estates lawyers have attributed to there being a lot of misinformation out there about the same. Some of this misinformation includes the following.

1.  EPoAs are for the Elderly

Wills and estates lawyers agree that the elderly are at a greater risk of losing their mental capacity due to dementia and other diseases. However, anything may happen at any time, and regardless of your age, you may find yourself in that position.

Whatever your age, there is no better time than the present to make an EPoA. As long as you have full capacity to do so, you are eligible to make one, and you should.

2.  The Attorney Will Make All the Decisions when You lose Mental Capacity

As the principal, it is vital that you carefully consider what decisions you would like your attorney to make for you when you lose your mental capacity. Wills and estates lawyers will help to ensure that your instructions in the power of attorney are explicit.

An EPoA generally covers financial decisions and matters to do with your estate. For decisions regarding your medical care and lifestyle, you can appoint an enduring guardian to make these decisions on your behalf.

3.  Everything Automatically Falls To Family Members

It is a common assumption that the responsibility of making financial and medical decisions automatically falls to a spouse and other immediate family members when you lose your mental capacity. This, however, isn't the case.

Without the power of attorney in place, these same family members may have to go to court to be granted permission to make these decisions. Even with the best wills and estates lawyers, the process can be long and difficult.

4.  You Lose Power to Make Your Own Decisions Immediately

Don't put off drawing the power of attorney with your wills and estates lawyers for fear of losing the power to make decisions for yourself. It's essential to bear in mind that the document only comes into effect when you lose your mental capacity. While you still have the mental capacity, it can only be used with your consent.

Wills and estate lawyers can help you draw up an EPoA. Don't let any myths or misinformation hold you back.