One of the tragedies many families face is when a loved one becomes incapacitated because of illness or injury. This situation can be even more difficult when there are medical and financial issues that need to be addressed. Unfortunately, it is far too common that family members do not agree on how these issues should be handled. Instead of supporting each other through a difficult time, family members become locked in legal battles that can tear families apart.
Estate planning lawyers have many legal tools available to help provide their clients with the best estate plan based on their personal and financial circumstances. One of the most critical of these tools is a power of attorney. In addition to trusts and wills, an estate planning lawyer can explain how setting up a power of attorney to handle these issues can benefit your family.
What Is a Power of Attorney?
A power of attorney is a legal, written document that authorizes an individual to oversee and act on your behalf. There are several different types of power of attorney options and your estate planning lawyer can explain how each one may or may not work for your particular situation.
What Is a Nondurable Power of Attorney?
This type of power of attorney is in place for a set period of time and is often used only for a specific transaction. Once the transaction is complete, the power of attorney no longer exists.
What Is a Durable Power of Attorney?
This type of power of attorney is more encompassing and allows the individual appointed to oversee and manage the affairs of the person who has appointed them (the principal). There is no set time period like a nondurable power of attorney, but it does expire upon the death of the principal.
What Is a General Power of Attorney?
A person who is appointed general power of attorney handles all of the financial issues for the principal. This includes overseeing any property that is owned, such as rental property where rent needs to be collected and taxes paid.
What Is a Healthcare Power of Attorney?
A healthcare power of attorney is the person who will oversee all medical decisions should the principal become incapacitated and no longer able to communicate their wishes. Your lawyer may advise you to sign an advanced directive that specifies which medical treatment you would decline if you were able to communicate.
Your healthcare power of attorney is the agent who ensures that your doctor adheres to your wishes. Some of the decisions that should be determined in these documents include:
- What your wishes are in regard to pain and suffering
- What type of extraordinary measures should be taken to keep you alive
- Where do you prefer to spend your final days (i.e. at your home or in the hospital)
- What spiritual beliefs do you wish to be honored
- Whether you want to be an organ donor
Contact an Estate Planning Law Firm
To find out more about power of attorney options and other estate planning tools, contact a Luzerne County, PA estate lawyer from Hoegen & Associates, P.C. to schedule a confidential consultation and find out what your best legal options are.