Power of Attorney, Health Care Proxy, & Living Will
Every estate plan should also include a Power of Attorney, a Health Care Proxy and a Living Will.
Power of Attorney provides authority to manage financial matters. Health Care Proxy provides authority to manage health care matters. Living Will provides direction to your HCP agent on your health wishes.
A POA is where you authorize someone to manage your financial matters. For many, that a scary amount of authority to give someone. While of course you should be able to trust the person you designate as your agent, there are ways to limit that persons authority to ensure you feel more comfortable. Generally speaking, when a power of attorney is executed as part of a broader estate plan we suggest that the principal (you) authorize broad powers to the agent. You can surly still put those protections in place but when your POA is part of an estate plan, you are planning for when you can no longer manage your financial matters. At that point, you generally want your trusted agent to have the authority necessary to do what needs to get done and not have his or her hands tied when it comes to managing your matters. Often times, people are understandably uncomfortable providing this authority, call our office to discuss how your concerns can be addressed.
In cases where the spouse, children, or loved ones require the ability to manage your financial or medical matters for your benefit, but have not been provided authority by POA or HCP, a costly and court involved process is required. Read more about Guardianships here.