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What is a power of attorney?

On Behalf of | Sep 7, 2023 | Estate Planning |

A power of attorney is an essential legal document that allows you to designate someone to act on your behalf in various situations. Whether due to temporary unavailability or longer-term incapacitation, having a reliable person with the authority to make decisions can be invaluable. This tool is especially beneficial when time-sensitive or critical decisions need to be completed, and you can’t do so.

Specialized forms are designed to address particular power of attorney designations, namely medical and financial matters. Understanding the differences between these types can help you make informed decisions tailored to your needs.

Digging into medical power of attorney

A medical power of attorney, sometimes called a healthcare proxy, gives your chosen agent the authority to make healthcare decisions on your behalf. This comes into play if you can’t communicate your wishes due to illness or incapacitation. Your agent will consult with healthcare providers to determine the best course of action, whether it involves undergoing surgery, choosing treatments or deciding on end-of-life care.

Breaking down financial power of attorney

A financial power of attorney focuses on your monetary affairs. With this designation, your agent can manage your finances, including paying bills, managing investments and filing taxes. Like its medical counterpart, the scope can be as broad or as limited as you’d like, based on your trust in the agent and the complexity of your financial landscape.

Why these designations offer peace of mind

Assigning medical and financial powers of attorney ensures that, in situations where you can’t speak for yourself, someone you trust is in place to make decisions in your best interest. These designations also remove the burden of tough decision-making from family members who might be emotionally overwhelmed. 

Choosing the right power of attorney type for your situation provides legal benefits and emotional peace of mind. By planning, you’re securing the best possible care and management for yourself, even when you can’t speak up for yourself.