As the saying goes, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." A General Durable Power of Attorney and a Health Care Power of Attorney are a few ounces of prevention that everyone should have in place to avoid expensive and time-consuming guardianship proceedings. Powers of attorney are written to empower an attorney-in-fact to act on your behalf. A General Power of Attorney can be written to allow an attorney-in-fact to pay bills, file taxes, and make a whole host of other decisions. A Health Care Power of Attorney can empower an attorney in fact to make health care decisions for you, including end of life decisions. Powers of attorney can be written to come into effect only if you are incapable of making such decisions on your own. The catch is that a power of attorney must be signed before a person becomes incapable of making their own decisions. Because that is usually unpredictable, everyone, especially those who are aging or in poor health, should have Powers of Attorney signed, notarized, and in the hands of the attorney-in-fact to use when it becomes necessary. Without a power of attorney, family members who wish to make legally binding decisions on behalf of their incapacitated loved ones will normally be required to go through guardianship proceedings, which means time, fees, and other expenses of carrying out the guardianship which far exceed those of a simple power of attorney.