For families without minor children, my first priority is ensuring my clients are taken care of if they cannot take care of themselves. Now, the medical power of attorney is important to make sure the correct person can make health care decisions. However, often times, I find medical professionals will follow instructions even without a medical power of attorney. Now, that may not always be true, so a medical power of attorney is necessary.
However, I can guarantee a bank or financial institution will not allow someone who is not listed on an account to sign. This is a major concern for those who have the majority of their money in retirement accounts. On retirement accounts, only one person is listed as an owner for tax purposes. There may be beneficiary designations, but those don’t go into effect until death. So, without a power of attorney, if the owner cannot sign, no one can. This can present a huge problem for married couples who rely on each other’s retirement money.
The same would be true of a couple with a house in joint names. If the home would need to be sold to provide for them or just to downsize, both would need to sign. However, if one can’t, the home cannot be sold without court intervention.
A financial power of attorney is an easy solution. By completing a power of attorney, you can decide who can access financial accounts for you and what powers they have. So, tell me, who do you trust with your power of attorney?