Why Have Healthcare Power of Attorney and a Financial Power of Attorney
The process of estate planning includes preparing for the future while safeguarding your assets along the way, ensuring all your desires are in place to facilitate a smooth transition for your loved ones after you are gone. However, unanticipated situations can arise during your lifetime necessitating the need for others to step in and help while you are still living.
For example, what would happen if you were in a severe accident, resulting in your incapacitation or ability to make decisions? Who would step in to help manage your finances? Is there a particular family member you would designate to make medical decisions for you? Would they know what to do? Would they have the power to act on your behalf?
These circumstances require some forethought and are an important part of estate planning that should not be avoided or procrastinated.
Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare Decisions
By way of a durable healthcare power of attorney, you can designate someone to make medical decisions for you if, at any point in the future, you cannot do so for yourself. Within the health care power of attorney, you can also give direction to your appointed agent on the decisions you would have them make under different circumstances. If you do not have healthcare power of attorney in place, someone else may be appointed as your guardian to make decisions for you – and it may be someone you would not have otherwise chosen.
Creating a Living Will
As an alternative, or in combination with, a healthcare power of attorney, you may also create a living will. A living will includes medical directives to help inform your family members and physicians about your wishes regarding health and medical decisions. The document becomes effective only when a determination is made that you are no longer able to make or communicate decisions regarding your medical care.
Representatives are Crucial to Healthcare Powers of Attorney
Under a durable healthcare power of attorney, you can designate a representative to carry out healthcare decisions for you if you are unable to do so at any point in the future. Additionally, this document serves as a guide for the representative to know which decisions to make under different circumstances. In the same way as a living will, this document is applicable and effective only when you can no longer make decisions on your own due to a medical condition.
Choosing the right person is crucial—the individual must be trustworthy and capable of making difficult decisions. When selecting the representative, it is vital to bear in mind the high-stress and emotional nature of medical situations, because the individual must demonstrate strength and confidence to carry out such a role. A knowledgeable Nevada trust and estate attorney with years of experience can help you to navigate the preparation of such sensitive documents. The Nevada trust and estate attorney will supply you with some criteria to consider when selecting a representative and illustrate some of the decisions a candidate may face.
Financial Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney for financial matters specifies which persons are authorized to act on your behalf for financial matters. The Financial Power of Attorney enables a person of your choosing, usually called the agent, to handle your financial affairs if you, the principal, are incapable, unfit, or in some way incapacitated. The actions performed include, but are not limited to, making cash contributions or gifts, opening new financial accounts, selling property, and generally managing your finances on your behalf. A spouse is often given this power, with a friend or other family member as the most common alternative.
Selecting an Agent for Power of Attorney
It is critical to understand that once the power of financial attorney is in action, you as the principal will be liable for the agent’s actions. Therefore, you should carefully consider the process of agent selection. Be sure the person is responsible, levelheaded, reflects good character, has a straight moral compass, and most importantly, is someone you fully trust. The selection of an agent should never be taken lightly or done in haste. There are several forms of power of attorney, from general to limited, that can cover general or specific circumstances. Contact a qualified Nevada Trust and Estate Attorney to work with you through this process and to help create sound documents.
Having an experienced Las Vegas estate planning attorney involved can help you understand and discuss your family’s options. Also, having an attorney involved in the process of estate planning can help you avoid making costly mistakes. It can also help mitigate any potential family disputes. Our trust and estate attorneys at Lee Kiefer & Park understand the ins and outs of the process. You can schedule a free, confidential consultation or call us at 702-333-1711.
Attorney Kennedy Lee practices in all aspects of trust and estate law. He views all legal issues from multiple angles (e.g. from litigation to administration point of view) to provide a higher quality of service to our client.