Financial Power of Attorney
A financial power of attorney is a document that gives someone else the ability to make financial decisions for you when you are unavailable or unable to make them yourself. This person does not own your assets; he or she has the ability to act on your behalf when you cannot.
A financial power of attorney allows the person you name to take care of bills and other day-to-day financial affairs when you are unable to. Financial powers of attorney are written for many purposes and can specify which assets or financial decisions your agent can make on your behalf.
Medical Power of Attorney
A medical power of attorney is a document that gives someone other than yourself access to your medical information. This person has the ability to make medical decisions for you when you are unable to make these decisions yourself.
While this may seem like an unnecessary document, if you do not have a medical power of attorney that allows doctors and medical professionals to communicate with a loved one regarding the details of your health and medical care, the doctors will not be able to consult with your family regarding medical concerns or procedures. No matter how young or old you are this is an important document to have on hand because you never know when a trip to the ER may result in pain medications that leave you groggy and doctors determine you are incompetent and can no longer make your own medical decisions.
Another document we can include within your estate planning is a Living Will. A Living Will helps make your wishes known regarding life support and organ donation. How does a Living Will work? After two doctors make independent determinations that you either have a terminal condition or are in a persistent vegetative state, your Living Will dictates how long you stay on life support. You can specify any number of days, weeks or months before you are removed from life support. Making this decision for yourself alleviates the burden from the agent you designate in your medical power of attorney and lets your family and your agent know your wishes.
Additionally, within your Living Will you can address organ donation. You can elect to donate all of your organs or specify which organs you would like to donate. Again, this makes your wishes known and takes the burden of making these decisions in difficult circumstances off your family or your agent.