Financial and Medical Powers of Attorney are extremely important and come into play when you become incapacitated. These documents allow you to choose your agent, or “power people.” Let’s start first with when these documents are used. They are used while you are still alive, but a doctor determines that you are incapacitated. Incapacity could mean a variety of things, but the most common scenario is a coma or dementia. Once a doctor determines you are incapacitated, how do your bills get paid and who makes your medical decisions? This is where your power people come in to play.
My Spouse as Power of Attorney?
A common misconception is that your spouse automatically has the right to make these decisions for you but that is not true. If you do not have power of attorney documents set up, your estate must pay for a very expensive hearing where a judge, gets to appoint your power people for you. Sometimes they choose your spouse, sometimes they choose a family member you would never want to make those decisions, or more often than not, they appoint a professional fiduciary who has no idea who you are or what your wishes are, that charges an arm and a leg an hour to make your decisions.
Capacity and Uses
To make things even more complicated, once you regain capacity and a doctor clears you to make your own decisions, you must go back to court to ask permission to make your own decisions again and they do not always give that power back to you.
Next is how your appointed power of attorney can use these documents. Having an attorney draft your power of attorney documents means that these expensive hearings appointing strangers or unwanted power people to make decisions for you stops. Rather than go to court, pay fees, and risk your wishes being thrown to the side, your power people would be able to show the banks or doctors that you gave them this power and the banks and doctors must comply.
A financial power of attorney has complete control over your finances meaning you cannot do so much as rent a movie or by groceries without asking your financial power of attorney. A medical power of attorney is the person the doctors go to to make decisions about your care. This is a lot of power to give someone which is why it’s important to choose someone you trust, rather than let that person be chosen for you.
Set Up Your Own Financial and Medical Power of Attorney
We are here to assist and answer questions regarding Powers of Attorney. Please feel free to give us a call at (720) 513-2299 or click this link to schedule a free initial consultation with one of our attorneys.