A Power of Attorney allows an individual to designate an agent, which can be any knowledgeable adult, with the authority to make specific decisions in place of the individual giving that authority. The designated person operates as the individual’s agent and the power of attorney file allows his or her actions over what the individual states. The individual is able to take away the authority and can do so by canceling it or setting a time limit on the authority or the authority ends when the individual dies. Because of the significant impact Power of Attorney documents can have, it is important you carefully choose your agent(s). There are two primary Power of Attorney documents people most often seek: The Financial Power of Attorney and the Health Care Power of Attorney.
The Financial Power of Attorney appoints a person to make all of your financial decisions in the event that you cannot make them yourself. The benefit of this is that you can avoid the hassle and cost of having someone go to court and get named your guardian. You can allow your Financial Power of Attorney to be effective immediately or else become effective at a later date or event, such as your incapacity. An agent under your Financial Power of Attorney can only act during your lifetime, meaning upon the death of the individual, the agent’s authority ceases.
The Health Care Power of Attorney appoints a person to manage all of your medical decisions if you can’t make them yourself. The benefit of this is that it allows you to put someone you trust in charge of your medical choices, as opposed to having the Court appoint someone to make these decisions if you cannot. It may also be used to make or refuse to make an anatomical gift (donation of all or part of the human body to take effect upon the death of the donor). Like the Financial Power of Attorney, the Heath Care Power of Attorney can take effect immediately or upon incapacitation – it is up to the individual to make that decision. Looming medical decisions can have a powerful impact and grave consequences if not done right – keep those important decisions in your hands by putting a Health Care Power of Attorney in place.
Disclaimer: The above information is provided as general information, not as legal advice, and does not create an attorney client relationship. Before making any decisions regarding legal matters, individuals should consult with a qualified attorney.