There are dozens of intersections in life that call for an attorney’s insight. Wynn at Law, LLC gladly steps in to advise clients who have reached those intersections, like bankruptcy or buying a home. One of the most emotionally taxing of the intersections is how to handle the decisions at the end of a life, whether it’s sudden or the result of a long-term illness. Planning ahead, before you reach this inevitable intersection, can make the situation more bearable, or at least manageable.
In one of our earlier articles, we talked about the Last Will and Testament — a crucial part of estate planning after someone passes. A Living Will is a legal document that sets out a person’s healthcare wishes in the event they cannot articulate the wishes. A Healthcare Power of Attorney (POA) is a separate alternative. The Living Will has your instructions — what you will and will not permit. The POA designates an ‘agent’ to make the decisions. Usually, the agent is a spouse, but can be a close friend. No matter who you choose, you have to let that agent know your wishes clearly.
The POA is even more powerful when it goes beyond healthcare decisions to include financial decisions as well. This Durable POA ensures the person making the healthcare calls has the money to pay for the procedures. The signer gets to choose how limited in scope the POA is: For example, it can be limited to using bank accounts only and not things like selling the house.
Where Wynn at Law, LLC adds value with such a POA is that the document and our Firm can be – if needed – the go-between if things get charged up among family members or family and caregivers. Things like resuscitation, painkillers, tube feeding, and organ donation can be powderkeg issues when they’re not backed up by a Living Will or a POA.
‘Why would you create a Durable POA over creating a Living Will?’ is a common question. The answer is simple: The POA agent can represent your thoughts on things for which you didn’t foresee in drafting a Living Will. You can’t plan for everything in writing in a Living Will, and the bills don’t stop just because a person is hospitalized. When you and your family come upon this intersection in life, these estate planning tools help keep the focus on the care you would have chosen and nobody has to guess.
*The content and material in this original post is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.