Simpler isn’t always better, especially when it comes to estate planning. People need to really consider their current risks and future needs when deciding what documents to include in their estate plans and how they structure those documents. Often, the inclusion of multiple documents beyond just a simple will helps create the best protection for the testator. People need to think about not just what happens when they die but also what will happen if they have a medical emergency.
Powers of attorney are very useful estate planning tools. They give someone an opportunity to designate someone else to act on their behalf in certain situations. Typically, the agent or attorney-in-fact named in a power of attorney only has authority when the person who drafted the document becomes incapacitated.
Depending on the details embedded in the documents themselves, the agent can pay bills, access bank accounts or make important decisions about medical care. Why would people draft two different powers of attorney instead of one document?
They want to diversify their support
The simplest reason to create two separate powers of attorney is to avoid giving one individual too much authority. When a testator carefully separates financial authority from medical authority, they can create a system of checks and balances.
Having two different people involved in providing for their needs during a potential future medical incapacitation can be much better protection than allowing one person to assume authority similar to that of a guardian.
They want to be incredibly detailed
The more thorough you intend to be about the instructions you provide and the limitations you place on others in your powers of attorney, the more important it may become to create separate documents for financial and medical authority. That way, you will have substantially more space to explore the restrictions and rules that you want to enact for your own protection.
The decision to add powers of attorney to your estate plan will protect you if you ever end up in an emergency that renders you unable to provide for yourself, and it will guide the people that will support you during that difficult time. Thinking carefully about your estate planning needs will lead to the creation of more effective documents, including powers of attorney to protect yourself from the risk of incapacitation.