All estate planning should include executing a medical POA and a General POA

  • Medical POA designates someone, and generally a successor if that person can no longer serve, to make medical decisions for you if you are no longer able to do so for yourself. Medical POA is authorized to get medical information from medical providers without those providers violating HIPPA laws. Most doctors and hospitals will encourage or even nag you to have a medical POA in place if you are admitted for hospital care, even minor care.
  • General POA designates someone—who should be someone you trust completely—to have the power to handle your financial and property affairs. General POAs can be in effect when signed, or can “spring” into effect only if a doctor (or two) declares you to be incapacitated. When you sign a General POA, you will designate exactly what the person designated as POA is authorized to do on your behalf.
  • Living Will or Advance Directive is a statutory form which specifies your end-of-life wishes in regards to being resuscitated, or given nourishment while unconscious, or kept alive artificially for any period of time. It only applies if you have been determined to be terminally ill or injured.
  • Notification to family and doctors – It is helpful to family if you share with them at least your choices in regards to POAs and Living Will. The people designated as POAs will definitely need to have a copy of those documents in the event that the documents need to be activated. Your doctor and local hospital should have a copy of your medical POA and living will.

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