Here are some reasons why health care and financial powers of attorney are important. Under Health Care Power of Attorney, an individual, called the principal, appoints another individual, called the agent, to make health care related decisions in the event the principal is unable to do so at some future date. Typically the power is triggered when a physician or physicians make a determination that a principal no longer has capacity. A principal must have the requisite capacity when he or she executes the Health Care Power of Attorney.
Similarly, under a Financial Power of Attorney, an individual, called the principal, appoints another individual, called the agent, to make financial decisions for the benefit of the principal. A Financial Power of Attorney can be triggered upon the incapacity of the principal or immediately upon the execution of the Financial Power of Attorney. The terms of the Financial Power of Attorney will determine when the power of attorney is triggered. However, in all instances the principal must have the requisite capacity when he or she executes the Financial Power of Attorney.
Guardian and Conservator
In a situation where an individual has failed to execute a Health Care Power of Attorney or Financial Power of Attorney and that person becomes incapacitated, a family member or close friend must petition the court in order to be able to handle the personal and financial affairs of the incapacitated individual. The appointment of a guardian by the court authorizes the guardian to make decisions related to the care of the incapacitated person and the appointment of a conservator by the court authorizes the conservator to make financial decisions for the benefit of the incapacitated person. Because of the time and expense associated with the appointment of a guardian and conservator, typically the designation of agents under a Health Care Power of Attorney and Financial Power of Attorney is by far the better planning device to deal with the potential for incapacity.
Speak with an Arizona estate planning attorney to learn more about this.
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Why Health Care and Financial Powers of Attorney Are Important, or any other estate planning matters, please feel free to contact Stephen L. West at 480.461.5341,or Curtis M. Chipman at 480.461.5329. You can also log on to udallshumway.com, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.