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Power of Attorney, Health Care Proxy & Living Wills

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Power of Attorney

The power of attorney is one of the most important documents in creating an estate plan.  The power-of-attorney is the authority given by you, as the principal, to someone, called the agent, that can legally act and speak for you.   The authority given to the agent can be very restrictive or very broad depending on your wishes.  The most significant purpose of the power-of-attorney is to cover decision making in the event of the principal’s incapacity.  If the principal is unable to handle their affairs, typically found in advanced stages of Alzheimer’s or Dementia, the power-of-attorney helps this unfortunate circumstance.  Without the power-of-attorney, the family could be compelled to seek a court appointment guardian which could possibly a stranger to the family, at a cost of thousands of dollars. 

For more information about this topic, please visit our blog post "What is Power of Attorney?".

Health Care Proxy

Health Care Proxy is the authority that someone gives to another, the proxy, allowing them to speak on their behalf to the medical community.  Health Care Proxies are typically one page documents but can be modified extensively.   The proxy can make decisions for the individual if that individual is unable to do so.  It is typically used to limit the use of extra-ordinary means of life support and to make the individual comfortable.

Living Will

Living Will is someone’s written directive to the medical community of what care is to be provided, or not provided, given particular circumstances.  The wishes and directions are often similar found in the Health Care Proxy.

The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding creditors or any federal or state tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation and estate planning.