Before one passes, they will likely find themselves incapacitated either physically or mentally or both. A Durable Power of Attorney (POA) is an essential part of your overall Estate Plan. This document allows you to appoint someone you trust to make financial decisions on your behalf in the event you are no longer able to. If you are incapacitated and do not have a POA, then your someone will have to initiate guardianship proceedings in probate court to be able to act on your behalf. In this process, a judge determines who should make these decisions for you and requires ongoing supervision of those decisions by the court. This process may be very time consuming, expensive, and often causes unnecessary conflict between your loved ones.
Health Care Power of Attorney/ Advanced Medical Directive
A Health Care Power of Attorney, often referred to as an “Advanced Medical Directive” gives your trusted loved ones the ability and power to make medical treatment decisions on your behalf if you are unable to make those decisions for yourself. Without an Advanced Directive, it is possible that a guardian will need to appointed by the court before any medical decisions can be made on your behalf.
A Health Care Power of Attorney and/or an Advanced Medical Directive leaves you with the power to choose your medical care options, including your wishes regarding what types of medical life support measures you prefer to have, or withheld/withdrawn if you are in a condition that will likely leave you without reasonable hope of significant recovery and you cannot express your wishes yourself. This ensures that your loved ones are able to advocate for your wishes when you are no longer able to communicate your end-of-life wishes yourself.