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Heritage Tree LogoWhat Are Financial and Medical Powers of Attorney?

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To learn more about financial and medical POA, read on and reach out to our skilled Butler County powers of attorney lawyers today.

What is a financial power of attorney?

A financial power of attorney allows a person you have selected (your agent, or attorney-in-fact) to manage your finances. Usually, it is used so the person can step in and pay your bills or handle other financial or real estate matters. It can be a marker for financial professionals acting on your behalf, or you may use it to choose a trusted friend or family member to take on issues if or when you are unable to physically or mentally do so on your own. In some instances, it may also be used for isolated, one-off situations where it is not convenient for you to be present, such as a real estate closing in another city.

How does a financial power of attorney work?

A power of attorney can take effect as soon as you sign it, or upon the circumstance of a future event. If the power of attorney is effective right away, it can be used even if you are not incapacitated. If its powers are “springing,” they don’t go into effect until a future event has occurred. The most common future event is the incapacity of the principal. Incapacity only occurs when the principal is certified by one or more physicians to be either mentally or physically unable to make decisions.

Incapacity can be a result of mental illness, Alzheimer’s disease, being in a coma, or being otherwise unable to communicate. If it never becomes necessary, your agent may never use a power of attorney. In many instances, a financial power of attorney may be designated to a professional as part of routine financial management.

What is a medical power of attorney?

A medical power of attorney or healthcare proxy appoints an individual to make medical decisions for you when you no longer have the ability to do so. The person you choose to make health care decisions on your behalf when you cannot is known as your agent.

Any competent adult can be your agent, but you will want to recognize that some states implement these exclusions: your physician or health care provider; an employee of your physician or health care provider (unless the employee is your relative); your residential health care provider (a nursing home, for example); an employee of your residential health care provider (unless the employee is your relative). If an individual has any of the aforementioned designations, they cannot act as your agent for the purposes of a medical power of attorney in some states.

How does a medical POA work?

A medical power of attorney will concentrate only on health-related decisions and will be written according to the exact specifications of the individual making the directive. As such, medical power of attorney can include provisions for a wide range of medical actions including personal care management, hiring a personal care assistant, determining medical treatment, and making decisions on medical treatments altogether.


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