No one knows when incapacity may strike. You could suffer a stroke or sustain a serious injury in a vehicle crash. Who will step in to manage your affairs?

If you have powers of attorney for healthcare and finances, your trusted appointees will provide capable assistance in a time of family crisis.

The healthcare POA

Some people hesitate to prepare a power of attorney, feeling that by doing so they lose their independence. Remember that if you should become incapacitated and unable to make decisions about your medical care, your family must grapple with the consequences. Having a POA will eliminate such concerns. Name a person you trust to be your agent and make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you are unable to act.

The POA for finances

Like the POA for healthcare, the POA for finances enables the person of your choice to step in and make legal and financial decisions on your behalf. The agent you appoint will manage your checking and savings accounts as well as your investments, pay bills, prepare taxes and generally keep the legal and financial side of your life running smoothly. If you recover, you simply take up the reins again.

A time for advance planning

You should not delay in creating powers of attorney since advancing age brings the possibility of dementia. As the principal establishing these estate planning tools, you must be mentally competent. Keep the future of your family in mind. Creating POAs for healthcare and finances will save them from facing unnecessary decision-making issues if you should ever become incapacitated.