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Health care proxy versus power of attorney

When most people think of a power of attorney, they tend to think of a person put in charge of an individual in the event they are found to be incapacitated. While the general idea is correct, it really only covers half of the definition. In the event of an individual's inability to make their own decisions, a power of attorney and health care proxy may be assigned to them.

Estate-planning-power-of-attorney-frese-hansen.jpgA power of attorney is a legal document designed to give an individual the power to make financial decisions for a person deemed incapacitated. This mental or physical state can be brought on by age, illness or accident. Regardless of how or why the person is unable to make decisions for themselves, a power of attorney can be put in place to make financial decisions that are in the best interest of the incapacitated individual.

Aside from the power of attorney, there may be a health care proxy assigned to an individual deemed unfit to make their own decisions. While the power of attorney makes important financial decisions, the health care proxy has the right to make important medical care related decisions for the incapacitated individual.

In the event an incapacitated individual has both a power of attorney and a health care proxy, these two people could work together to make important financial and medical decisions for the individual. Both the health care proxy and power of attorney give legal rights to other people and should be created with the help of an attorney. Since the decisions made by both individuals are of such sensitive nature, making sure they are assigned properly is important. To assign a power of attorney or health care proxy individuals should speak to an attorney.

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