Durable Power of Attorney
Learn about a durable power of attorney and how it works in this video. Then, contact our Stillwater attorneys for a free legal consultation.
What is a durable power of attorney and how does it work?
In the last seven or eight years, I lost both my parents. I lost my mom last September. I know from my own experience that the things family members are asked in the event that a loved one is incapacitated or dies are:
Does this person have a designated durable power of attorney?
Does this person have a healthcare of directive?
If you happen to be the person being rushed to the hospital, these are questions your medical team will ask you.
The reason they ask for these things is they need to know who will make decisions on behalf of your loved one should they become incapacitated, unconscious, or need life support. And who will do so for you if you are the patient.
The durable power of attorney enables you to take care of the affairs of your loved one if something happens to them. I like to say the durable power of attorney springs into existence when your loved one becomes incapacitated and so you can handle issues such as:
- Mortgage payments
- Signing leases
- Signing of important medical and financial documents
Being able to sign whatever is necessary to conduct business on behalf of your loved one requires a durable power of attorney. It will also allow you to authorize healthcare, which may involve instructing doctors to do or not proceed with certain treatments.
Without a durable power of attorney, your loved one’s doctors won’t know who to follow or what your loved one’s wishes are. Without a durable power of attorney, your loved one’s doctors’ hands may be “tied.” If something happens to a loved one and there is no durable power of attorney, you’re looking at needing to attain guardianship so the court will appoint you as a guardian. This would take time, and if a medical decision needs to be made quickly, not having the authority to provide input can be detrimental.
A healthcare directive is beneficial because modern medicine provides many ways to keep you alive, but many people want quality of life factored into such decisions. A healthcare directive allows you to specify how much medical intervention you want if you are seriously ill in a coma, you’re persistently unconscious, or you have a terminal illness.
You may choose to receive food/nutrition intravenously. You may choose to only receive water intravenously. You may choose not to receive either. Most people do not want to be kept alive if they have no chance of resuming a meaningful life.
The healthcare directive gives the individual the opportunity to choose whether they want life-saving intervention if they’re unable to live a substantial, helpful, abundant life. Without a healthcare directive, your medical providers will have to default to keeping you alive.
Are you or a loved one looking to plan your estate and have questions about a durable power of attorney? Contact a Stillwater estate planning attorney at Murray Law Firm today for a free confidential consultation and case evaluation. Let our experience work for you.
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