Maryville Estate Planning Attorneys Handling Powers of Attorney
Protecting clients’ wishes in the event of a change or loss
The compassionate and skilled team at Shepherd & Long, P.C. has decades of experience creating estate plans for our clients. We understand that these decisions are difficult to make and the discussion that ensues with your spouse and adult children is even more difficult. We can guide you through the process of choosing the right directives for you. Contact our Maryville estate and probate lawyers today to learn more.
What is a power of attorney?
A power of attorney is a legal document that names a person (the agent) responsible for making legal decisions on behalf of someone else (the principal). A power of attorney makes decisions for you when you are no longer able to do so on your own. In order for this to work, the document must be in place prior to an incident of this nature occurring.
What are the types of powers of attorney?
The various types of power of attorney differ based on how much power is given to the agent, how long the power lasts, and when the power goes into effect.
- Durable power of attorney. This is the most common POA, and it grants the agent broad powers to make decisions on your behalf. It goes into effect if you become incapacitated, and can affect decisions about healthcare, finances, real estate, and more.
- Non-durable power of attorney. This POA is only used for a specific event where you cannot be present. It ends if you become incapacitated, or the event it was required for concludes.
- Limited power of attorney. A limited power of attorney places a restriction on the agent’s access to specific assets. For example, the agent might be given access to a checking or savings account but not your investment portfolio.
- Springing power of attorney. This begins when a specific event occurs. This type of power of attorney takes effect when you meet specific guidelines you’ve set that deem you incompetent.
- Medical power of attorney. It is recommended that you write separate powers of attorney documents for your finances and your medical care. A medical POA is part of an advance medical directive that explains who is responsible for making medical decisions on your behalf, your wishes regarding care when in a coma, and your wishes for what is to be done with your body (organ donor, cremation, burial, etc.).
When and why should I review my power of attorney?
It is a good idea to review your entire estate plan, and any powers of attorney you’ve signed, when there are significant life changes: getting divorced or getting remarried, when the person you chose as your agent passed away, is incapacitated, is no longer in your life, and/or if your estate has changed. Reviewing your powers of attorney helps avoid legal issues when you become incapacitated should your spouse say you no longer wanted the originally named agent listed.
What are healthcare directives?
Healthcare directives (also known as living wills, advance directives, personal directives, and medical directives) are legal documents in which you expressly specify the actions that should be taken regarding your health when you are no longer able to make these decisions on your own due to incapacity or illness. A power of attorney or a health care proxy can be named in the healthcare directive to make decisions on your behalf when you become incapacitated. The person chosen is known as an agent. It is best to complete both documents in an effort to provide as much guidance as possible regarding your care.
Is it better to assign a POA or create a living will?
A living will is an important legal document that outlines the majority of concerns you have regarding your health. While this is an effective document should you become incapacitated or too ill to make your own decisions, a POA is the best way to ensure your wishes are met. A POA works on your behalf, making financial and healthcare decisions in your best interest. You are giving the POA permission to make decisions on your behalf regarding care, whereas a living will provides direction to healthcare professionals.
Create a power of attorney with a Maryville family law attorney today
A power of attorney comes in all different types. You need to choose the one that best meets your needs right now or in the future. The experienced team at Shepherd & Long P.C. will be able to explain each type of power of attorney to you and make a recommendation as to which one you should choose. Call our office at call 865-982-8060 or fill out our contact form to schedule a low cost consultation.