Power of Attorney

By The Care Centers.

If you are growing older, then you are probably thinking about different legal documents that you will need to have in place. This is especially true if you are considering moving into a nursing home, hiring homecare, or looking for retirement communities. In addition to a will or trust and medical directives, you also need to understand power of attorney. While some people have a basic understanding of what this means, others are not sure. So, here are four common questions about power of attorney with answers that will help you make the right choices. Remember that this is an important decision you need to make before you move into a nursing home. 

What Is Power of Attorney?

This is a type of legal document that you have your attorney draw up. It will name a specific person as in charge of your affairs. There are different types of power of attorney too, including:

  • Medical Power of Attorney – Someone who will make medical decisions for you if you are incapacitated. 
  • Financial Power of Attorney – Someone who handles your financial affairs for you. 

The same person can be both medical and financial power of attorney if you would like, or you could choose to name two different people. 

What Can This Person Do?

When the power of attorney document is drawn up, you get to decide what you allow the person named to do. You can make it as narrow as you would like. For example, you could give them only the power to deposit your retirement checks or pay a certain bill. At the same time, you could be very broadly stating they have the right to do anything with your money that you would do. The same concept goes for medical power of attorney as well. 

What’s the Difference between Simple and Durable Power of Attorney?

With a simple power of attorney, the document is only valid while you can still take care of yourself. If you were to become incapacitated, then it would no longer be in effect, so this may not be the best choice, especially if you are going into a nursing home and you want everything in place for the long term. The durable power of attorney stays in effect no matter what. 

Does Durable Power of Attorney Mean I Lose All Control? 

That all depends on you. It is your choice what control you give to someone else. So, think about this carefully when the lawyer draws up the documents. If you still want to maintain some control, then you could just list certain things in the power of attorney document. 

If you decide it is time to draw up a power of attorney, then make sure you choose a lawyer to help you do so. Now that you have these questions answered, you will find it easier to get these documents together before you enter a nursing home. These documents could be drawn up with a will as you will read in this article (Wills That You Need as You Age) or a trust as you can read about here (Five Things to Keep in Mind about Trusts).

Tags: Geriatric care