I’m often asked about the difference between a General Durable Power of Attorney and a Medical Power of Attorney.
A General Durable Power of Attorney gives someone else the right to make legal and financial decisions for you, while you are living. You have the option of signing one, but not giving the power to act until after a disability, or signing one and giving the power to act immediately. Some Durable Powers of Attorney give rather limited powers; some give the agent powers to do just about anything you yourself can do. Upon your death, it is no longer valid.
A Medical Power of Attorney gives your agent the right to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to make decisions for yourself. The Medical Power of Attorney, together with a HIPAA release and a Directive to Physicians (also known as a Living Will) are all part of a comprehensive disability plan. The HIPAA release will allow your agents to have access to your medical records (so they can make decisions based on your medical information). The Directive to Physician lets your doctors and your agent know your wishes if you are being kept alive by machines.
To get a better understanding about these documents, and other basic estate planning documents, I invite you to attend one of our free workshops. Give us a call at 214-292-4225 to reserve your seat!