I have many clients come to me to have wills drafted, and decide to get only wills and not powers of attorney. While I go ahead with whatever their wish is, ultimately, my view is that powers of attorney are even more important than wills and if you’re only going to get one, you should skip the will.
Wills are, at heart, philanthropic: who gets your stuff when you have no use for it any more? Powers of attorney, on the other hand, are selfish: who is going to take care of you when you can’t take care of yourself? If you need medical care, you want to have decided on the best person to manage that care; if you are in a coma, or have a serious illness, you want to have chosen the best person to pay your bills and your mortgage without dipping into your bank account as if it were their own. Without powers of attorney in place, you are leaving it to chance, and to an expensive court application.
As soon as you are 18, you can do a power of attorney for property; care powers of attorney can be signed as young as 16. If you don’t have one, or your kids are old enough, it’s time.