A power of attorney is a legal document which give a person (the attorney-in-fact) the legal right to do certain things for you – how far those powers extend depends upon the terms of the document. The authorized agent may be given the power to handle banking, payments, and other routine financial and business transactions. The powers designated to the attorney-in-fact are terminated upon the death or incapacitation (depending on how the document is written) of the individual who requested the document. If the intent of the document is to dictate a person to make decisions in the event of incapacity, then a durable power of attorney should be put in place.
Durable power of attorneys should also be updated frequently as most financial institution will only honor the document for about one year.
Health Care Documents and Advance Directives
Health care documents authorize your medical providers to allow specific individuals, whom you have chosen, access to your medical information. These documents are typically used in conjunction with advance directives.
An advance health care directive, also known as a living will, is a legal document specifying the type of medical and personal care one would like to receive if they lost the ability to make their own decisions. The directive may include DNR orders and organ donation forms. The document would identify who you would like to appoint as your health care representative. This person would have the power to make the designated medical care decisions for you.