When it comes to planning for your future and the future of your dependents, making sure your estate plan reflects their needs is essential, especially if you’re unable to care for them on your own. To make sure their best interests are maintained, you’ll want to appoint either power of attorney or guardianship to a trusted individual. 

Both are effective, and while your Dallas estate planning lawyer can help you decide which is best for your needs, you’ll still want to make sure you understand how each provision works. 

power of attorney and will paperwork

What Is Power of Attorney?

Power of attorney gives a trusted individual the legal right to make decisions on your behalf if you’re unable to do so due to a sudden, life-changing event. This type of provision only takes effect if you’re unable to make decisions for yourself or your loved ones and only applies to specific accounts or asset types.

Power of attorney doesn’t give the individual the complete and total right to control all aspects of your estate. It allows them to oversee your finances, real estate, and other accounts as designated by you in the original agreement. They’ll only be able to act on your behalf on those designated accounts.

You may also be able to appoint a medical power of attorney, giving an individual the ability to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. This can take the strain off of your surviving family members and helps to ensure that your final wishes are honored regarding any medical treatments you may receive. 

What Is Guardianship?

Guardianship refers to a court-appointed individual who takes full responsibility for all decisions if you’re unable to make those decisions yourself due to a mental disability or other limiting condition. Guardians can also be appointed for your dependents if you are unable to care for them. 

guardianship written on paper with pen

Guardians are legally authorized to make decisions regarding healthcare, legal matters, finances, and caretaking as needed. Most individuals only appoint guardians if they have dependents who rely on them for their care. This may be minor children or adult children with disabilities. 

Establishing guardianship can be more costly than establishing power of attorney, but it’s essential if you want to ensure that your dependents continue receiving the care they need.

How to Decide Which Is Right for Your Situation

Most individuals who are worried about a medical emergency leaving them unable to make important decisions will benefit from establishing a power of attorney. However, power of attorney is not likely enough to look out for the best interests of your dependents. If you have young children or are worried about maintaining a level of care for an adult child with a disability, establishing a guardian will likely be a better choice.

It’s possible that you’ll want to establish both a power of attorney for yourself and a guardian for your children. The best way to make sure you’re fully protecting your loved ones’ financial futures is to work with an estate planning lawyer in Dallas.

Speak With a Dallas Estate Planning Lawyer

Both power of attorney agreements and guardianships are effective estate planning tools that will look out for your loved ones’ best interests and ensure that your final wishes are honored correctly. However, you’ll want to make sure they’re created the right way and are able to perform the duties and tasks you need them to.

At Norris and Weber, we understand that every situation is unique and will work with you to create an estate plan that works for your needs and long-term goals. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.