DPOA: it takes a village

Updated: Feb 4

On a logistical and emotional level, it takes a village to accomplish almost anything in life. Support comes in many shapes and forms. Sometimes having someone help with an errand or do you a favor can really be the saving grace of your day. And, believe it or not, there are legal documents that can help your village help you. We're talking about the durable financial power of attorney, durable healthcare power of attorney, and healthcare directive. Let's dive into the practical uses of these documents.

Durable Financial Power of Attorney. First off, what is a durable financial power of attorney (DFPOA)? It is a document, in which you, the Principal, appoint the Agent of your choosing to act on your behalf. An Agent can be an adult family member, trusted friend or relative, or a professional fiduciary to name a few options. The DFPOA deals directly with financial decision making. Your can also choose the scope of your Agent's authority. Need help disputing a bank statement transaction? Your Agent can do that. Need help managing your investment property or business? No worries, your Agent can step up. Need some paperwork signed while you are on vacay? I think you get where we're going with this.

Durable Healthcare Power of Attorney. The durable healthcare power of attorney (DHPOA) is similar to your DFPOA, but it deals with healthcare decision making. Your healthcare Agent and financial Agent can be different people but don't have to be. Healthcare decision making is so much more broad than saying yes or no to a one-off medical question. Your Agent can help with ensuring you are at a facility that will provide you with the best care. Your Agent can also make sure medical records are transferred to a new doctor or review lab results to help determine whether a course of treatment makes sense or not. If you have a minor child, your Agent can also take your child to a doc appointment if you aren't able to make it. Again, you are able to determine scope, and these are examples of what your Agent can do.

Healthcare Directive. Generally speaking, a healthcare directive will speak to your preferences regarding those bigger medical questions. What would you like to happen if you are in terminal condition or diagnosed as permanently unconscious? This document is highly customizable though and can go beyond these questions. Having these wishes and preferences on paper will take an enormous amount of guesswork and pressure off of your healthcare Agent's shoulders because he/she/they will have something to refer to for guidance.

These documents cover a lot of ground in your everyday life. Often, when we think of an estate plan, we assume that it is only covering what happens after death. This could not be further from the truth. An estate plan should also cover multiple situations that arise in everyday life. Have a chat with an estate planning attorney today to help draft your personalized DPOAs. Your attorney will help you with choosing suitable Agents and determining scope of power to include in your documents.

Disclaimer: The purpose of this post is to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By accessing this blog site you understand that there is no attorney-client relationship between you and Sekhon Law, PLLC. This post should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.