As we get older, it becomes more and more important to prepare for the possibility of losing our physical and mental capabilities. Choosing powers of attorney to manage our affairs in the event that we become incapacitated is extremely important to protect ourselves and our families.
Choosing a power of attorney
Most Ohio residents will need to choose a healthcare power of attorney, as well as a financial power of attorney as part of the estate planning process. The people you choose for these roles will generally be people you trust to make decisions on your behalf in the event that you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself.
Healthcare power of attorney
A healthcare directive gives you the power to voice your preferences with regards to your medical care. However, it cannot cover every possible scenario. In emergency situations or in situations not covered by the healthcare directive, your healthcare power of attorney will step in to make the decisions for you, if you are physically or mentally unable to make the decisions for yourself. However, you can set limits to their power, so that they can only make certain decisions.
Once someone is a healthcare power of attorney, they have the right to:
- Consent to medical treatments that do not go against your living will
- Choose doctors and medical facilities for your care
- Access your medical records
- Go to court for determinations regarding whether you receive medical care
- Decide what happens to your body post-death
Financial power of attorney
The purpose of a financial attorney is to make financial decisions for you if you become incapacitated. Again, you can limit their power as you see fit. Generally however, your power of attorney will be able to:
- Invest your money
- Access financial accounts
- Pay bills, taxes, and medical expenses
- Collect benefits
- Manage your small business
It is in your best interest to assign a healthcare and financial power of attorney to help you if you ever become incapacitated. An estate planning attorney can help you fill out the correct forms and ensure your powers of attorney are valid.