One of the most powerful estate planning tools you have at your disposal is powers of attorney. These documents, when properly prepared, allow you to plan for any event which may leave you unable to manage your own affairs or speak for yourself. Some of the specific powers you may wish to designate to a third party include:
- Durable Power of Attorney for Finances – when you cannot manage your day-to-day finances because of an accident or illness, you can appoint someone you trust to manage them on your behalf. These powers of attorney can limit what the designee can and cannot do with your monies when written properly.
- Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare – if you are unable to communicate your wishes to a doctor, you need to have someone available who can make your wishes known. A health care power of attorney generally has an “event” associated with it which would allow another person to provide information regarding your care to a doctor in the event you are unable to do so.
- Mental Health Care Power of Attorney – in the event a psychiatrist or other medical professional deems you incapable of making your own decisions, there may come a time when you need mental health care. This is usually the result of a coma, severe stroke, psychotic episode, or Alzheimer’s. This power of attorney generally includes a HIPAA release and allows your designee to make decisions about care regarding your mental health.
- HIPAA Release and Authorization Waivers – when providing someone with the authorization to make medical decisions on your behalf, it is important to have a HIPAA release as well. Without this release, your designee has no access to your medical records nor can they work with your insurer in the event of an error in billing.
- Living Will – Living wills are designed to ensure your family and your physicians understand your wishes for end-of-life care. Should you become incapacitated in an accident, suffer an injury that leaves you in a coma or other devastating event, this provides direction to family members and health care team members regarding what care you wish to have them continue.
While most of us never consider the possibility that we may be unable to make our own decisions, one never can forecast what can happen tomorrow. Having the proper powers of attorney in place can ensure that your care is managed, your finances are managed and that your family and health care team understand your wishes. Contact Kramer Legacy Documents, LLC today at (623) 974-2272 for assistance in preparing the documents necessary to manage your finances and health if you are unable to do so for yourself.