Creating Powers of Attorney and Health Care Directives
Discussing with your loved ones how they should deal with a debilitating illness or injury to you is never easy. However, avoiding these discussions is not helpful. Naming a loved one or another trusted individual as your agent can ensure that your wishes are carried out if you are ever unable to communicate. It is like having a parachute in case an emergency arises. In fact, without a durable power of attorney and health care directive in place, your loved ones may have to go to court to gain authority over your financial affairs and medical care.
A frank discussion with a knowledgeable estate planning lawyer can go a long way toward helping you and your loved ones achieve some peace of mind if a difficult situation arises. At the law office of Joseph H. Gruner, P.C., in Tarrytown, I will answer your questions and explain in clear, concise language all of your options in creating a durable power of attorney and health care proxy. With more than four decades of legal experience, I regularly create these documents as part of a comprehensive estate plan.
Powers of Attorney and Health Care Directives Are Equally Crucial Tools
A power of attorney names a person you trust as your agent to handle your finances in the event you are unable to do so due to incapacity or illness. A health care directive, or health care proxy, names a trusted agent to make decisions involving your medical care when you are unable to do so. Under New York law, your health care proxy and power of attorney must be set forth in separate documents.
Individuals often have either a spouse or an adult child assist them with financial decisions or to handle their accounts entirely, if they become unable to do so on their own. Nevertheless, it is legally necessary to formally appoint that person in a comprehensive durable power of attorney. Under New York law, that person becomes your “agent.”
Similarly, you want to give one person legal authority to direct your medical care if you become unable to effectively communicate your wishes. That is accomplished by signing a health care proxy appointing your agent. In addition, you can sign a “living will,” which spells out how you wish to be cared for, and whether extraordinary measures should or should not be utilized to keep you alive.
When you are represented by my law firm, we will help and guide you in selecting the people who will best serve as your agents under your power of attorney and health care proxy. We will then create these documents for you.