It would help if you had both – POA and MPOA. No one anticipates when an accident (car, plane, fall, to name a few) will happen or when a medical condition (heart attack, stroke, or something else) will occur. These documents allow another person to handle your decisions while you are alive.
First, let’s understand the difference between a Power of Attorney and a Medical Power of Attorney.
A Power of Attorney appoints a person to make financial decisions or payments on behalf of another person deemed incapable of making these decisions. A Medical Power of Attorney (sometimes referred to as a Healthcare Advocate) is an appointed person who makes medical decisions on behalf of another person deemed incapable of making these decisions. Note these are two separate things since one helps with a person’s finances, and the other helps with medical decisions.
The advantage of having an Estate Planning Attorney prepare the documents is that they could bring up various scenarios to help guide you on how you want others to decide. Plus, an attorney could ensure the documents comply with state law.
Buying the forms or getting the documents online is more of a generic type of form and may only address some of the issues that come up.
Who should get a POA or MPOA form?
Every adult should complete these forms while they are young and healthy and can make these decisions. These documents are used when a person is alive but not capable. These documents are different from a Will or Trust since those documents address other issues. For more clarification on this subject, please consult an Estate Planning Attorney.
Any additional info to consider?
These are difficult decisions and topics no one wants to discuss because people do not like to discuss end-of-life issues, but these are critical decisions. When deciding whom to appoint for Power of Attorney or Medical Power of Attorney, select someone you know and trust. You should ask the person first to confirm they are willing to do this for you. If you do not have someone to take this on, appoint a Fiduciary to act on your behalf. Confirm your choices with your appointees. When making medical decisions, be clear so that all those close to you know your wishes. Good luck!
STAGES is here to educate people and provide resources.