Generally speaking, a Power of Attorney (POA) allows another individual to legally act on your behalf when you are unable to make vital decisions. The POA documents we most often recommend to our clients are the Property Power of Attorney, Health Care Power of Attorney, and Mental Health Care Power of Attorney.
A Property Power of Attorney can authorize your agent to handle specific affairs on your behalf when needed. This allows them to do things such as: Pay bills; Deal with property; Prepare and file tax returns; Deal with insurance and retirement benefits; Contract for services; Assist with Medicaid eligibility; Assist with banking transactions.
The other two main POA documents are the Health Care Power of Attorney and the Mental Health Care Power of Attorney. Each POA can name a different individual, if you so choose, which allows you to be specific with who you would like to be responsible for the various needs you may have.
The Health Care Power of Attorney is used when you are unable to communicate your medical wishes to a hospital, caretaker or physician. This document allows your chosen agent to give your health care provider legal authorization to treat your condition and decisions as to the type of treatment you are to receive.
The Mental Health Care Power of Attorney is becoming much more prevalent in the state of Arizona. As we live longer, we are seeing a rise in the number of individuals facing dementia or Alzheimer's, and are also facing an increase in incapacity from other sources such as accidents, strokes, and even simply the deterioration that comes of old age. A Mental Health Care Power of Attorney allows for your appointed agent to make your mental health care decisions for you, such as choosing a care facility if you need assisted care.
It all comes down to preparing yourself for the possibility of incapacity and ensuring that if you are unable to make vital decisions for yourself, you have appointed someone you trust to act on your behalf.
Contributed by MH Cave Creek and Phoenix Estate Planning Attorney West Hunsaker
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At Morris Hall, we have focused our legal practice on estate planning for over 40 years. Along with estate planning, our attorneys help clients and their families with matters of probate, trust administration, wills, power of attorneys, business planning, succession planning, legacy planning, charitable gifting and other important legal aspects. We also have divisions in financial, real estate and accounting to help you incorporate all of your planning together, ensuring that everything works perfectly for your needs and situation. Our Arizona offices are located in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Cave Creek, Tucson, Prescott, Flagstaff and Arrowhead. Our New Mexico offices are located in Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe. Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.