Healthy people don’t give much thought to becoming sick or facing death. Illness and mortality are not easy discussion topics, but you can appoint a trusted person(s) to make sure medical and financial issues are handled according to your wishes. You can also make arrangements for care for dependent(s).
A Healthcare Power of Attorney is a legal document in which you list specific wishes regarding medical care and comfort should you no longer have the capacity to make your own decisions. It appoints an individual to serve as healthcare Agent, who will act if you cannot.
Someone may also need to step in to take care of your financial and legal needs, such as paying bills; buying, selling, and maintaining vehicles, houses, or other property; filing taxes; and managing accounts. This person, your financial Agent, is nominated by executing a Financial Power of Attorney.
These two Agents need not be the same person.
You can revoke or change these while you are competent. POAs can be durable (valid until revocation or death, even through incapacity) or springing (the Agent can’t act until some event has occurred, like a medical declaration of incompetence). Custom documents allow you to be particular about which powers you grant to your Agent.
Questions you should consider:
- Do I want to give loved ones the authority to make medical choices for me?
- Do I have strong feelings about life-saving medical care? (e.g., feeding tubes, hydration, life support, and other scenarios)
- Do I have a trusted person to carry out my wishes? (Ultimately, they need to be both willing and able – this can be a hard combination to find. A professional fiduciary can fill this role as well.)
Have I organized my affairs in a way that my Agent will be able to find what is needed? (e.g., bank account information, deeds, funeral arrangements, safe deposit box keys, car titles)
The information presented on this website is general in nature and not intended to be legal advice. No attorney-client relationship will exist with Jones, Kuriloff & Sargent, LLC unless agreed to in writing. Please contact us to discuss your particular situation.