When the time comes, do you know who will be there to make important decisions for you?

We recently visited Advance Health Care Directives, living wills, power of attorney (POA) and POLST. These are all legal documents put in place to ensure decisions regarding your health align with your preferences when you are no longer capable of communicating your desires. When not prepared for this last phase in life, you could end up with a court appointed conservator who may or may not have your best interests at heart.

As you now know, Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care is someone who will make decisions regarding your healthcare when you are no longer able to. But did you know powers of attorney have different levels of authority and can serve other areas of your life?power-of-attorney

  • Financial Power of Attorney allows your agent to make decisions regarding your finances and property.
  • General Power of Attorney has a broader scope, giving your agent the ability to make any and all personal decisions and healthcare choices.
  • Limited Power of Attorney has limited authority on the types on decisions you would like them to make.
  • Durable Power of Attorney is given the ability to make decisions for you both now and if you become incapacitated.
  • Springing Power of Attorney only has authority when you become incapacitated.

judge-hammer1If no POA is named, your family members may decide to file a petition with the court if they feel you are unable to meet certain requirements for your health and safety, or if you lack the capacity to manage your financial affairs. A conservatorship is comparable to an individual given legal guardianship over a minor.
There are two types of conservators:

  • Conservatorship of the Person – conservator makes personal decisions for the conservatoree
  • Conservatorship of the Estate – conservator makes financial decisions for the conservatoree

Often times, the court appoints the same person to act in both capacities. This may or may not be the person you would have chosen, were you able to make that decision.

Does one have any advantages over the other?
Power of Attorney is a relatively low-cost and private way of naming a trusted individual to carry out your wishes. In regards to a conservatorship, the court proceeding is not only costly, but the person named as your conservator might not be the same individual you would have chosen.

You can save your loved ones from headaches and guessing games by having open conversations with them about what you want and deciding on your Advance Health Care Directives.MeandGrandma

Coming up, we’ll discuss how to go about choosing a healthcare proxy.

 

 

 

Sources

  • http://www.elderattorneyoffice.com/cda.aspx?content_type_id=8169
  • http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/consumer-health/in-depth/living-wills/art-20046303

 

 

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