Understanding The Importance Of Powers Of Attorney
Do you know who you would trust to make critical decisions about your financial/legal or medical needs if you became incapacitated by an injury or health problem? One way to ensure that you’ve answered this important question is to have an estate planning lawyer draft powers of attorney for you.
A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that you sign to grant legal authority to make decisions on your behalf. There are two main types of POAs: one type covers who can make financial or legal decisions on your behalf, and the other covers health care and medical care.
Assigning a POA to a trusted member of your family does not mean you are giving up your rights to make decisions on your own behalf. It is freely granted and must be signed in the presence of two witnesses and notarized. You determine the level of decision-making power you are granting your “attorney in fact.” You can be very specific about the types of legal, financial and health care decisions and transactions you allow him or her to make on your behalf.
The Difference Between A POA And An Advance Health Care Directive
POAs are different legal documents from an advance health care directive, often referred to as a living will. A living will stipulates the extent of health care treatment you authorize doctors to provide at the end of your life. A doctor is not legally bound to follow the terms of the advance directive but will be absolved from liability if he or she does adhere to it.
The primary benefit of an advance health care directive is that it removes your spouse and family members from making emotional decisions about continuing medical treatment at the end of your life. It is important to update your powers of attorney documents, living will and all other estate planning documents every five years or with each major life event, so they reflect your current wishes.
Choose An Attorney With Extensive Experience
If you reside in Bucks County or Montgomery County or anywhere in the Philadelphia metropolitan area and need help with your probate and estate planning needs or documents, turn to my firm, William J. Benz, Attorney at Law, in Southampton, Pennsylvania, for help. I offer more than 30 years of knowledge and experience to make sure you are making the right decisions about your estate planning needs and goals.