Do you know what it means to have a power of attorney? Have you ever wondered about the benefits of getting this legal document in place?
First, there are different types of power of attorney documents. A durable financial power of attorney is a document that allows a person (known as the “principal”) to designate someone else (the “agent”) to make decisions for the principal about financial matters, including:
- Buying and selling property
- Handling bank accounts
- Managing business decisions
- Handling additional matters related to the principal’s financial accounts
A durable financial power of attorney can become effective immediately — or it can spring to life upon the occurrence of a certain event and primarily when the principal becomes incapacitated.
In the event of mental incapacity, the agent would be able to have ultimate control over the principal’s financial matters and would be able to make any decision necessary as long as it is in the best interest of the principal.
In Arizona, a medical power of attorney (sometimes referred to as a durable medical power of attorney) allows someone to make medical decisions for you in the event you become incapacitated. However, the medical decisions made by the person you appoint cannot be inconsistent with the advanced medical directives you designated in your living will — that is, a written statement outlining your desires with regard to medical treatment if you become incapacitated and are no longer able to provide instructions about your medical care on your own.
A durable mental health care power of attorney document gives you a way to appoint a person to make future mental health care decisions for you if you become incapable of making those decisions for yourself. The decision about whether you are incapable can only be made by a specialist in neurology or an Arizona-licensed psychiatrist or psychologist who will evaluate whether you can give informed consent.
Benefits of Having a Power of Attorney
Financial and health care powers of attorney are critical estate planning documents. If you’re ever injured, incapacitated in some way and unable to make decisions for yourself, having these types of power of attorney documents in place can be extremely beneficial.
The person you chose to serve as your agent will have the ability to make critical decisions on your behalf while you are incapacitated, and third-parties (hospitals, banks, etc.) can rely on your agent’s statements and actions the same as if such statements or actions were made by you (the principal).
If you are interested in protecting yourself in the event of future incapacity, contact us today for a free consultation, either by phone or here at our offices in East Mesa. We can draft financial and healthcare powers of attorney for you for a low flat rate.