There are so many unforeseen accidents and traumas that can befall any of us while we are outdoors. No one plans to have an accident, injury, or illness, but when they happen, you and your loved ones need the clarity and power that comes from being on the same page regarding medical interventions and financial decisions. When we are forced to make a last-minute or spur-of-the-moment decision, it can be difficult to know if we’ve made the right choice. A durable power of attorney and advance healthcare directive can take the pressure off your loved ones, who may be worried if they don’t know your wishes should you become incapacitated. Being asked to make important life decisions for others can be more stressful than making choices for yourself.
Early planning, with a power of attorney and healthcare directive, can ensure your wishes are known should the worst happen. Your family law attorney can draft the straightforward and easy-to-understand legal documents you will need to safeguard your assets and ensure your medical preferences are known by those you love. A durable power of attorney and an advance healthcare directive provide the final word over your affairs.
The Benefits of a Durable Power of Attorney & Advanced Healthcare Directive
A durable power of attorney (POA) gives a predetermined agent authority to act as your representative for legal matters governed by the document. Matters of contracts, checks, taxes, and real estate can be covered using this legal tool. Your agent would serve as your proxy, even signing for signing legal documents on your behalf. A power of attorney can also be used to manage your financial concerns if you are ever incapacitated and unable to follow through on your wishes.
- Prevents the need for court-appointed guardianship or conservatorship
- Clarifies your wishes and intent
- Gives your agent rights to act on your behalf
- Gives your agent immediate access to funds to act on your behalf
- Proactive planning gives you time to alert family members of your intentions
Your power of attorney is a powerful legal instrument your agent can use on your behalf. Because your POA provides such unlimited legal incursion into your life, you only want to give agency to someone you trust to follow your instructions. If you die, your power of attorney no longer serves as a legal instrument, so it should be supported by other estate planning documents, like a will, trust, or estate plan.
An advance healthcare directive gives your physician and family instructions about your medical preferences. It also covers your approval or disapproval of certain treatments or lifesaving measures, like, surgery, resuscitation, blood transfusions, and testing. You can also use the legal document to outline whether you’d prefer to spend the end of your life in hospice care, a nursing home, or at a medical facility.
Advance directives are beneficial because:
- They’re simple to understand and create
- They help you consider your health and health care goals
- They help you prepare for unexpected medical care
- They provide comfort and direction to your family and loved ones
- They help doctors and medical staff better understand you and your desires
- They give you a voice when you are incapacitated
Like with a power of attorney, you can select an agent to act on your behalf. This individual should be someone you know and trust with your agency. The person chosen needs to be someone you know will follow your wishes when you cannot speak for yourself. An advance healthcare directive can give peace of mind to your loved ones, and it can ensure they are not left worried they’re making the wrong choices for you. We’ve all been painfully reminded of how quickly circumstances can change in life, so if you are concerned your situation could benefit from a durable power of attorney and advance healthcare directive, contact a family lawyer for assistance.
The attorneys at Cecil Cianci Law, PC, can start your estate planning documents today. Call us at (916) 675-3866 for more information on these and other estate planning documents to match your situation.