DURABLE POWERS OF ATTORNEY - MEDICAL & FINANCIAL
(two separate documents)
What Is It?
Two separate legal agreements that allow a family member or trusted advisor to manage one’s health care and financial decisions. A power of attorney that is "durable" means it remains in place after the person who makes it becomes incapacitated.
Do We Need It?
Yes. A durable power of attorney for health care is required so that a trusted agent (usually a spouse or child) can make health care decisions should they become unable to speak for themselves. The agent should follow the patient's wishes outlined in their health care directive.
Similarly for financial needs, a durable power of attorney for finances allows a trusted agent to act as the patient in order to handle their money and finances.
How To Get It?
1. Set up a durable POA before it is needed because it can kick in when the person who made it becomes mentally incapacitated.
2. You can find a POA for your state online, but using an attorney is better to ensure it contains all the necessary clauses and provisions
3. Determine who will be the agent and successor agent(s). It should be someone who understands the person’s wishes as spelled out in the health care directive.
4. Discuss these roles and expectations with the agents and your parent
5. Decide when you want the power to kick in — upon signing or upon incapacitation. Note that “upon incapacitation” can sometimes cause unwanted delays.
5. Fill out the forms.
6. Make a copy of each.
7. Take both copies of each the medical and financial POAs to a notary with the agent(s). Sign each before the notary. Have documents notarized.
8. Keep the original somewhere safe and distribute copies to the agent, successor agent(s), and all your parent’s financial or health care institutions.
9. Review and update after significant life events or as desired