Under what circumstances would I need to give someone Power of Attorney?

When we talk about giving someone power of attorney, that simply means that you have signed a power of attorney, and in that document you’ve appointed an agent or maybe a couple of agents, maybe a primary and a contingent. The purpose of this document is to make sure that if you’re unable to make financial decisions for yourself, that you’ve appointed someone whom you trust to be able to make those decisions for you.

Let’s give a couple of examples. Let’s say, God forbid, that you’re in a bad car accident – you’re laid up in the hospital, maybe you’re in a coma – that’s a situation where it’s extremely helpful to have a validly-executed power of attorney and you have an agent in place who can act for you. Another example might be some sort of cognitive decline – Alzheimer’s, dementia. Some disabling illness sets in, and you’re no longer able to manage your own financial affairs, but, fortunately, you’ve signed off on a power of attorney; you’ve already got somebody in place who can conduct your business and make those financial decisions for you.