Why Do I Need Them?
When it comes to making important life decisions, no one can do it better than you. Unfortunately, sometimes situations come up where you cannot make those decisions. In that situation, someone else needs to step in to make decisions for you. Although you may not be able to make all of the detailed decisions yourself, you can at least decide who will make those decisions for you. Without any pre-made documents like a power of attorney or healthcare directive, you may be at the mercy of strangers or worse, no one at all. That means your finances may freeze indefinitely, which can lead to financial ruin. Houses foreclose, investments crash, and bank accounts drain. The same concerns apply to your healthcare. You may be the next Terry Shiavo without a healthcare directive. At a minimum, your loved ones are in the dark about what they should do, how to do it, and who is responsible.
What Is a Power of Attorney?
A financial power of attorney is a legal document that gives another person (your “agent”) the power to make financial decisions on your behalf. It does not take any of your own power away, it merely shares it with another person. This document is necessary in case you are not able to make financial decisions on your behalf. A power of attorney can quite literally be a life saver if you become incapacitated and your loved ones need access to your finances for support or to assist in your medical care. This document can also make it easier for your loved ones to help manage your finances when you need help getting back on track.
What Is a Healthcare Directive?
A healthcare directive is like a power of attorney for medical treatment. It lays out your wishes for dealing with health issues in the event that you are not able to make those decisions for yourself. This document starts by nominating a healthcare agent to make medical decisions for you when you cannot. This can be any person you want. It then lets you lay out guidelines for your agent to consider in making those decisions. You can provide as much detail as you want. You will also nominate a guardian in the event you need one. This is absolutely necessary to prevent the court from choosing a guardian for you – possibly a total stranger. This document can make it easier for loved ones to make difficult decisions about your life and treatment.
It Sounds Scary to Give That Power to Someone Else – What Are the Limitations
Lankford & Moore Law understands that granting these powers is an important decision. However, the documents are not without limitations. Both documents allow you to very specifically lay out when and where the documents apply. There are sections for broad or narrow application. For example, the financial power of attorney can apply immediately or during incapacitation as determined by your primary physician. It can have time limits. You can revoke either document at any time. Also, the healthcare does not affect your treatment provider’s ethical requirements to provide life-saving treatments when possible.
Contact Lankford & Moore Law today to have a lawyer start preparing these documents for you. They are inexpensive, and the value is immeasurable. Get them a la carte or save money by getting both documents along with a last will and testament for the ultimate protection. The documents are easily editable if things change and are revocable. A lawyer at Lankford & Moore Law can custom-fit these documents to your unique circumstances to make sure you and your loved ones stay protected. By using an attorney, you will know that these important documents are up-to-date and legally enforceable. An attorney can also help you anticipate difficult circumstances that you may not consider. Call a lawyer at Lankford & Moore Law to solve these problems before it is too late.