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Powers of Attorney

Powers of Attorney: General Speaking

There are in essence two legal documents that can allow another person to act on your behalf with respect to financial, property and health issues – financial powers of attorneyand advanced healthcare directive  (a.k.a. living will or durable healthcare powers of attorney). If you do not include these documents in your estate planning then the only way another individual can undertake these acts for you is through the probate process of obtaining a guardianship. It makes sense to avoid a guardianship as it can take days before a temporary guardianship is awarded and decisions sometimes need to be made immediately.


Advanced Healthcare Directives

Neither a living will nor an advanced healthcare directive goes into effect for medical decisions unless you are determined to be incapacitated and medically that your existence is grim. There really is no need to have a living will if you have an advanced healthcare directive. A living will expresses your choices concerning medical treatment if no one is available to make those decisions for you. An advanced healthcare directive appoints a specific person to make specific medical decisions for you. Most hospitals have advanced healthcare directives available for review and signing before surgery. If you are familiar with the medical decisions you would like to designate then it is appropriate to sign the directive with the hospital staff (i.e. you may not need an attorney to draft the directive). If you are going to allow someone to make sometimes difficult medical choices you should choice a familiar, trusted individual. The New Hampshire Bar Association has a helpful explanation here :


Financial Powers of Attorney