Powers of attorney are documents that people create but intensely hope that they will never need to actually use. After all, a power of attorney only transfers authority to your agent or attorney when you are incapacitated and can no longer act on your own behalf.
People usually create powers of attorney specifically to designate another person to handle financial or medical matters when they have some kind of personal emergency. Is it necessary to create two separate powers of attorney?
There are benefits to separating authority
While it is theoretically possible to draft one document and name one person to hold all of the relevant authority if you experience an emergency, doing so might leave you unnecessarily vulnerable. What if you end up in a coma after a car crash and the person you named as your attorney was in the same vehicle as you?
Additionally, when one person has all of the authority to take care of you, there’s a greater possibility that they may abuse that authority. Creating separate documents for medical and financial authority diversifies the power you delegate to others. You can even potentially name an alternate agent in both of the documents to help minimize your risk of being medically vulnerable without someone to act on your behalf.
Whether you create one document or decide to create two separate powers of attorney will depend on your specific needs. Some people might choose to only create a financial power of attorney because they have a living spouse and an existing advance medical directive, for example. Adding powers of attorney and similar paperwork to your estate plan will protect you from medical emergencies in the future.