What Is the Difference Between a Medical and Financial Power of Attorney?

You’ve probably heard the advice to document your wishes and your chosen agent to make decisions for you if you become incapacitated. This is known as a power of attorney.

Your medical power of attorney is a distinct document from your financial power of attorney, and you need to think through this carefully when approaching your planning process.

Your medical power of attorney authorizes health care decisions to be made on your behalf by another designated person, whereas a financial power of attorney allows for an authorized individual to oversee the management of your finances where needed.

Powers of attorney, in general, are those documents that authorize another person known as your attorney in fact or agent to make decisions on your behalf. These are typically created in separate legal documents because of the fact that one is financial and one is medical.

The law addresses each kind of advanced directive separately which limits the authority of what actions can be done under either one. It is important to think carefully before selecting someone to hold your financial or medical power of attorney. Choosing people that you do trust does give you a greater level of control over your interests and ensures that your wishes are followed. A financial power of attorney can be used for one-off or isolated situations, but both of these documents should be separate and can either be designated to two different people or to one singular person to make these decisions on your behalf. Discuss your options with an estate planning attorney in Pasadena today to learn more.

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