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FAQ: Understanding the Importance of Medical Directives and Power of Attorney

Making plans over what will happen in the event that you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself is a grim subject to say the least. However, working with an estate planning lawyer to incorporate a living will and power of attorney is essential. Both of these factors may come into play should you be unable to make healthcare and financial decisions while you are still living. Having these key estate planning documents in place can help to ensure that your wishes are carried out in the way you would like. For the help you deserve when making such significant decisions, it’s important to contact an estate planning lawyer. The following are frequently asked questions regarding medical directives and power of attorney. 

What is a living will?

A living will, also known as an advanced medical directive, is a key document to be included within an estate plan. It outlines a number of key decisions in the event that you become incapacitated and are unable to make decisions on your own. This can help to guide family members and medical professionals of your medical wishes should be unable to make them. As grim as it may sound, there are a number of end of life decisions that should be outlined. An estate planning lawyer can help you to understand the decisions that will need to be made so that you may include them as part of your estate plan. 

How can power of attorney benefit me?

Power of attorney is a bit different than an advanced medical directive. While the two can go hand in hand, the attorney in fact, or power of attorney may hold a different role in the event you are unable to make decisions for yourself. While a person with power of attorney may have the ability to make medical decisions, they will have the authority to make financial decisions for you. This can include managing bank accounts, paying your expenses and gaining control over property. Identifying someone to take on this role is key. Should you not appoint someone in your estate plan, a court process may be required to declare you incompetent and appoint someone to assume this role. As a result, the power you have in appointing power of attorney will be entirely out of your control. 

How can I ensure that when the time comes for power of attorney, that they will be able to access my financials?

One complicated factor to power of attorney that many do not consider is that some assuming this role may have difficulty accessing your financials. Because of this, it’s important that you have a clear understanding of what financial institutions require in the event that someone must assume power of attorney. There are a few steps you can take to ensure that this process is as smooth as possible. For example, you can consolidate your accounts to one financial institution and complete any necessary paperwork with financial institutions early on to ensure as smooth a transition as possible. 

Who can I choose to take on these great responsibilities?

Perhaps one of the most important decisions you will have to make is appointing someone to take on this responsibility. The person of your choosing will have the great role of making medical and financial decisions in the event that you are no longer able to do so on your own. It’s important that you choose carefully when appointing someone to take on this responsibility. You will want to make sure that you choose someone whom you can trust. It’s always a good idea to have a conversation with your family or loved one to make sure that they are willing to take on this responsibility. 

Estate planning is an essential process, medical directives and power of attorney are just a few key components that should be included. For more information on how to get started, contact an estate planning lawyer as soon as possible.  

Contact an estate planning lawyer for more information.

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