You may have enjoyed both a successful career and good health as you near the age for retirement.

However, no one knows what the future holds. If you are starting to think about estate planning tools, be sure to include powers of attorney.

POA for healthcare

A power of attorney for healthcare allows the person you select to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so. In the event of incapacitation, most people appoint a trustworthy relative or close friend to take on this important role. If you recover, your POA expires and you take charge of your own healthcare once again.

POA for finances

The POA for finances usually goes hand in hand with the POA for healthcare. If you become incapacitated due to illness or an accident, the person you appoint will step in and manage your financial and legal affairs and pay your bills. Keep in mind that without the appropriate POAs, your family might have to establish a guardianship in order to provide care for you, an often complicated and expensive process.

The importance of timing

You should not delay in creating your powers of attorney and appointing those who will manage healthcare and financial decisions in your stead, should that become necessary. Incapacitation can occur without warning, due to a car crash, a serious fall or some other type of accident or illness you never expected. Dementia, as you age, is also a concern. Most older people with memory issues are not diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia until well after cognitive impairment has begun. At this point, your mental state would not legally allow you to appoint anyone to manage your affairs. Taking the initiative to create powers of attorney well beforehand will provide you with peace of mind in case your mental or physical health should become an issue later in life.