Durable Power of Attorney
Establishing durable power of attorney is a good idea for anyone that has bills to pay or wants to have a say about medical treatments they receive. POA is a legal document that gives permission to another person to make decisions on your behalf if you become injured or too ill to make decisions or are out of town and unable to appear in person.
Durable power of attorney documents need to be executed for both personal finance and health care. The person who will be in charge of making decisions is known as the attorney-in-fact. This individual is usually a spouse, parent, or relative, but can be anyone you desire.
Since the attorney-in-fact acts as a personal agent, it is crucial to designate a person that you can trust. Depending on the circumstances, the attorney-in-fact might have to make extremely difficult decisions, such as whether to continue life support or allow controversial medical treatments. Therefore, careful consideration should be given to the person who will be charged with these duties.
Everyone aged 18 and over can benefit from setting up a health care power of attorney. This is particularly important for people who have strong feelings about specific types of medical treatments that they do not want to receive.
Additionally, medical POA grants permission to hospitals and physicians to provide medical information to the attorney-in-fact. In the U.S. healthcare providers are prohibited from sharing medical information with others unless the patient has established a consent form to release records or personal health information.
The attorney-in-fact for healthcare POA is legally-bound to abide by and inform medical providers of your desires. Therefore, it is vital to designate a person who you can fully trust to make difficult decisions on your behalf.
Some states require individuals to setup a living trust to provide healthcare directives, while others require durable health care power of attorney. It's always best to talk with a lawyer to ensure proper forms are acquired.
Establishing a financial durable power of attorney is necessary for anyone that has bills to pay; income to deposit into bank accounts; or investment or retirement portfolios. Financial POA grants authority to the attorney-in-fact to sign checks, pay bills, transfer funds, prepare personal tax returns, and make financial decisions on your behalf.
If you become incapacitated and unable to manage personal finances, you could lose your home, automobile, and items used as collateral to secure loans. The last thing anyone needs after dealing with health issues is to come home to a financial nightmare. This can easily be prevented by setting up a power of attorney for finances.
Should the unthinkable occur and you don't have durable power of attorney arranged, your family will have to hire a lawyer or appear in court to obtain authority to take care of financial or medical concerns. Depending on court caseload this could take several days or weeks and could cause additional complications for loved ones.
There's no need for loved ones to endure additional stress during crisis. Establishing durable power of attorney is affordable and takes very little time.
Individuals can acquire POA forms in several ways. The preferred method is to work with an estate planning lawyer. Another popular method is to prepare documents via legal service providers such as LegalZoom. Power of attorney forms can also be downloaded via the Internet or purchased through office supply stores.
We invite you to learn more about setting up durable power of attorney privileges in our
estate planning article library. We cover topics of probate, trusts, writing a Will, inheritance and estate taxes, and the various types of POA forms.
Published on September 27, 2011 at 04:29 AM