Powers of Attorney And Advanced Health Directives
Many associate estate planning with something that primarily deals with what happens to your property after you pass away. While wills and trusts are popular features of many estate plans, there are also powerful tools you can use to protect your interests while you are still alive, including powers of attorney and advanced health directives.
Establishing a power of attorney allows you to designate someone to serve as your legal representative and decision-maker in the event you become unable to advocate for yourself or make decisions. Two common types of powers of attorney are medical powers of attorney and financial powers of attorney.
A medical power of attorney makes healthcare decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated or otherwise unable to make decisions about your care. This can apply to situations where you are suddenly injured in an accident or in a scenario where you develop symptoms of dementia as you grow older. In either case, you may not be able to make necessary medical decisions. Without a medical power of attorney, those decisions are typically left to your healthcare professional and possibly a close relative, like your spouse.
A financial power of attorney is an individual you permit to handle some or all your business affairs should you become incapacitated or unable to manage the day-to-day affairs of your estate. You can define what areas of your estate you allow a financial power of attorney to control. For example, you may only want them to pay bills or handle simple inquiries.
Advanced healthcare directives are often part of a “living will” and provide instructions on what courses of action you would like to be taken in the event you are unable to communicate and need medical care. Many will specify what they would like to happen in the event they fell into a permanent coma, for example.
A debilitating accident can happen at any time, and everyone eventually grows old. Taking the time to plan for your future and establish powers of attorney and advanced healthcare directives can give you peace of mind that your wishes will be honored, no matter what happens. Our lawyers can make sure your documents are properly formalized and clear in their language.