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Why married people still need powers of attorney

There are two types of powers of attorney that Nevada residents may need even if they are married. A medical power of attorney gives someone the ability to make medical decisions on a person's behalf if that person becomes incapacitated. A financial power of attorney gives someone the power to manage that person's finances.

Normally, if a person is married, the spouse is the one who is able to make medical decisions. However, there may be circumstances in which the spouse is unable to do so. If this is the case, the next nearest relative might be contacted, and it could be someone the individual would not wish to make those decisions. A healthcare power of attorney can name anyone, including a friend, to be responsible for these decisions in the event that the spouse is unable.

Even a spouse is not allowed to take over a person's financial affairs without a financial power of attorney in place. It might be necessary to make withdrawals from the incapacitated person's account to pay medical bills or a mortgage. If there is no financial power of attorney, the only option is to go to court and get a guardianship, and this can be a long and costly process. Furthermore, whoever does this might not be someone the person would have chosen.

People should discuss their wishes with loved ones so that those loved ones know what kind of decisions they would want made. For example, individuals should consider what kind of end-of-life care they would want. Choices for medical and financial power of attorney should be reviewed regularly along with the rest of the estate plan to be sure they still fit a person's situation. For example, if the person who has healthcare power of attorney moves away, that person might not be easily reachable in an emergency to make these decisions.

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