As we grow older, we can’t expect to always be in a sound mind to make important decisions. An unexpected accident or illness, or general old age, can cause memory loss or other impairments that can affect our judgment.

This is why every Minnesotan must create a power of attorney (POA). A power of attorney is a contract that assigns a reliable family member or friend as an “agent,” someone who can make decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. You can have a power of attorney for finances and for healthcare, two areas that require significant management.

It’s crucial to have a POA set up early so that your agent can step in as soon as you become incapacitated. If you wait too long to assign a POA, you risk the opportunity to explain how you want your affairs handled. By assigning a POA, you can outline the specifics of how you want your finances or healthcare monitored.

Some of the responsibilities of a POA include:

  • Accessing your medical and financial records
  • Accessing your finances to pay your bills
  • Selling or transferring your assets
  • Approving or denying medications your doctors prescribed
  • Deciding which hospitals or doctors should treat your medical needs
  • Deciding how to handle your body after death

It’s up to you to choose which type of POA you want. However, it is beneficial to have a POA agent assigned for both your finances and your medical needs. You’ll have all your bases covered and you can rest assured that your wishes will be followed.

Without a POA set up, the responsibilities of your finances and healthcare fall upon your family, who may not be aware of what you want. By taking the time to plan early, you are prepared for the worst-case scenario well before it happens.