Retain Your Power!

Writing a will is a very significant step for any one, especially a breast cancer survivor. Whether it’s stage 0 or stage IV, having a plan is important. It’s not giving up, throwing in the towel, or succumbing to the disease. It’s about thinking ahead, estate planning, and making your own decisions. It’s better to be prepared so your wishes can be honored. Your spouse will appreciate that you took the time to do this. Leaving one less decision for him/her to make in your total care.

Getting a Power of Attorney (POA) is one of the beginning steps in your cancer journey. According to the ABA, naming a POA is a legal document that involves the agent (person you choose) or attorney-in-fact, and the principal (you). It is used in the event of a principal’s temporary or permanent illness or disability, or when they can’t sign necessary documents. The principal must choose a POA who they trust to handle their affairs for them.

 Documents can be obtained online or through a lawyer. It is best to get a lawyer involved to ensure the paperwork is filed out correctly. POA is not guardianship and can be revoked at any time.

Types of POAs

l. Durable POA

Having a durable POA means your agent’s authority to act on your behalf continues if you become incapacitated. It’s always a good idea to explicitly state in your POA document whether you want it to be durable, to avoid potential confusion. 

ll. Springing POA

A springing POA, gives your agent the power to act when a specified condition is met. When used for estate planning, the condition is typically that you’ve become incapacitated and can’t act for yourself.
Once the condition is met, your agent’s power “springs” into effect. Until then, your agent has no legal authority, and you are the only one with control over your affairs.
Most attorneys don’t recommend using springing POAs for estate-planning purposes. This is because determining whether you are “incapacitated” isn’t simple. If you’re considering this type of POA get advice from an attorney.

lll. General POA

With a general power of attorney, you authorize your agent to act for you in all situations allowed by local law. This includes legal, financial, health, and business matters. They cannot make changes to your last will and testament.

lV. Financial POA

A financial POA is considered a type of limited POA, giving your agent authority to act on your behalf regarding certain subject matters of your choosing
Pay your bills and your family’s expenses
Make bank deposits and withdrawals
Collect and manage your retirement benefits
Sell or rent your real estate
File your taxes

V.Medical POA

A medical POA, enables the agent to make crucial decisions on behalf of an incapacitated person. This could include decisions about your medical care, like:
Medical treatments
End-of-life care
The doctors and hospitals used to administer your care
In my case I made a will AFTER all my battles with cancer. I should have addressed this issue before my first surgery. I included in the will for my bank to oversee the ages my son would get his first payment and his bulk payment. Years later, I put all my assets in trust accounts to be sure there is no probate court bills that would delay payments to my son. We now have a living trust. I was not prepared when I was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer. Luckily, God kept me here to make this correction.
Be Prepared!