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Power of Attorney, Medical Power of Attorney, Advanced Directives, What’s the Difference?!

Besides needing a will for when you pass, there are some other types of documents that our office can draft for you that are needed for when you are still living. These documents come in handy in situations when you may become incapacitated or unable to make your own medical or financial decisions. For example, you may develop dementia, Alzheimer’s, or possibly find yourself in coma. If this happens, most medical establishments and financial companies will require a document specifying who can make your medical or financial decisions.

Below are the types of documents our office provides for such an occasion:

Advanced Directive (Living Will)

This document is used to let your doctor know that it is your wish to withhold or stop any artificial life-sustaining procedures should you contract a terminal illness or condition that is deemed irreversible.

The living will takes effect when your doctor determines you are terminally ill and you are expected to die within 6 months without using life sustaining procedures. Once you have this document drafted signed by you and signed by two witnesses or notarized, you should give a copy to your doctor or hospital to keep on file.

Medical Power of Attorney

This document is used to grant a person of your choosing the right to make health care decisions for you, if you are unable to make them for yourself. This power of attorney only takes affect when your doctor acknowledges it is his opinion you lack the capacity to make your own health care decisions (i.e. you are in a coma). You may revoke this power of attorney at any time, either orally or in writing.

Durable Power of Attorney

This type of power of attorney allows you to choose someone to make decisions about your property or any financial decisions that need to be made. There are several different types of powers that can be granted on this form. Examples include, the power to open bank accounts, give gifts from your estate, and sell property, just to name a few. You can elect to give your agent all of these powers or you can just grant specific powers. When you come to our office to sign the document, we will go over each of these with you and their effect. Unlike the medical power of attorney, the durable power of attorney can become effective immediately if you so choose. If not, you can elect for it to become effective only upon your disability or incapacity.

No one is guaranteed what will happen tomorrow and anyone can find themselves in a situation where decisions need to be made for a family member. Without the proper forms medical facilities and financial departments can make this a trying task.

Depending on your situation you may only need one or all the above listed documents while you are living. Our office is happy to setup a free consult with you to see which one applies to your situation.

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Guest and Gray law firm is wonderful. I have had the chance to work with three of the lawyers and they all have been wonderful. They will tell you when you need a lawyer and when you don't. They actually try to save you money. They respond very fast to questions and try to help you understand what is going on. They are caring and are really judgment free. If I needed a lawyer again I would use this firm in a second and recommend them. K.K.
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