Power of Attorney
Power of Attorney or POA, a legal document, names an agent the authority to make property, financial or other legal decisions for an individual. A general power of attorney gives broad rights and powers to the appointed agent. In addition, there is a special power of attorney, generally giving very specific powers to the agent such as selling a home. A health care POA designates an agent to have authority in making health care decisions if someone becomes incapable of making those decisions. This last item differs from a living will which involves strictly life-sustaining procedures.
Executing a health care power of attorney does not preclude someone from making their own health care decisions; it simply becomes effective when an individual no longer has the capacity to determine the best decisions regarding health care. A durable power of attorney encompasses the general, special and health care power of attorney but ensures that these documents stay valid even if the individual becomes mentally incompetent. At GFS, we recognize the importance of having these documents in place. In most instances, issues of guardianship and conservatorship can be avoided if these documents are in place prior to any issues of mental or physical competence. Through our referrals to respected attorneys, we can assist our clients in having access to the experts who can ensure that the proper power of attorneys and other legal documents are in place. With an attorney’s guidance, our clients can be sure that their wishes and desires are legally in place.