What is a power of attorney? Generally, a power of attorney (POA) is a document that you sign giving someone you trust, often a spouse, the legal authority to manage your finances, healthcare and other important matters on your behalf. Prior to becoming physically or mentally incapacitated, you need to put durable powers of attorney in place, so your agent can take care of important matters should the need arise. If you should lose the capacity to make decisions without these documents in place, often the only path is a formal guardianship through the courts, which is an expensive and time-consuming process.
Types of Power of Attorneys:
- Statutory Durable Power of Attorney
This instrument appoints someone to act as your representative with full authority to conduct all business transactions involving your real property, bank accounts, retirement, intellectual property and so forth.
The decisions made by your agent are binding, as if you had made the decision yourself. With this much responsibility over your financial affairs, it is important to select someone that you trust to act with integrity and honesty.
- Medical Power of Attorney
A medical POA allows your trusted person to make healthcare or medical decisions on your behalf, if you are too sick or hurt to do so yourself. This could be because you were in a car accident or have dementia – life can make having a POA very important even if you’re at the peak of health.
A medical POA also contains a HIPPA release, which allows the designated person to obtain your medical information from your physicians. Without a HIPPA release, it can be difficult for your loved ones to obtain your medical records if your condition prevents you from gathering the information yourself.
- Directive to Physicians
A directive to physicians is what most people call a Living Will. It is a document that instructs your doctor on whether you want to disconnect life support systems if you are suffering from an incurable or irreversible condition caused by injury, disease, or illness.
While often a difficult topic, preparing for the unexpected is a gift you can give your loved ones that can reduce stress and financial burden in the most difficult times. Let Mundy Legal Services help you create these vital legal documents so you and your family are prepared.