Setting up a plan for possible disability is a vital part of estate planning. As you set forth your disability wishes, you will have the opportunity to determine how your medical and financial needs will be looked after if you become mentally incapacitated. There are many benefits to creating a separate financial and medical power of attorney.
By keeping your powers of attorney apart, you can choose different agents for each purpose. For example if your spouse is best with your finances but would have an emotionally hard time making medical choices for you, you can name your son as your health care agent instead. Even if you name the same agent for each purpose, you can name different back-up agents in the event that your first choice becomes unavailable.
A medical power of attorney allows your health care agent to make medical choices for you and speak with your doctors. He or she can have as much power as you desire, within the guidelines provided by state law, which allows you to limit any choices you don‘t want your agent to make. You can also place limits upon your financial agent. This person may handle all or some of your financial and physical assets.
There is aonther major difference between the two. Your medical power of attorney will most likely not be used while you are healthy and able to make your own medical decisions. It is, however, quite common to use a financial power of attorney in every day life. Such a power of attorney may allow one spouse to easily sign for another if that other spouse is unavailable for any reason.
If you choose to name separate agents for medical and financial purposes, using separate documents will help you to keep your medical and financial wishes private. Only the agent for each purpose will have access to your information. This is best if you intend to use a financial power of attorney during life, but don’t wish to share your medical wishes while you are healthy.