Most people have heard the term “power of attorney” before, but a lot of people don’t know that there are actually two different kinds – medical and financial. It’s important to designate both, because only designating a financial power of attorney will not allow your representative to make health care decisions, and vice versa. Laws concerning power of attorney vary from state to state so it’s always a good idea to consult a skilled estate planning lawyer when making these sort of plans.
What Does Power of Attorney Do?
This document allows you to guarantee your medical and financial desires are adhered to in the event you are incapacitated. This is done through a trusted person you elect to carry out your final wishes and make any necessary decisions.
Medical Power of Attorney
A medical power of attorney gives your representative the ability to make decisions about your treatment options and when to remove feeding tubes and ventilators. This person will be charged with making any decision that is not covered in an advance directive.
Financial Power of Attorney
A financial power of attorney will have control of paying bills and selling any assets. They will also have access to any banking and investment accounts, and can make withdraws in order to pay for necessary goods and services.
It is possible to designate the same person as both medical and financial power of attorney, and this is actually quite common. The person you choose could be a friend, family member, or even a lawyer, all that matters is that you pick a competent person you can trust. Once you’ve decided who is right for each role, give a copy of your advance directive if you have one, and go over it to see if they have any questions.