Durable power of attorney document, pen, glasses and calculator on desk

New Year’s Resolution Series (Part Three): Health/Durable Power of Attorneys

If you’ve been following our New Year’s Resolution series, you now understand the importance of wills and estate planning. These are essential documents that outline your wishes once you pass. However, what happens if you end up in an accident or become incapacitated? What if you can’t make sound decisions on your own?

This is where power of attorney documents (POAs) come in. There are two types of POAs: health/durable powers of attorney and financial powers of attorney. In this blog, we’ll focus on health/durable POAs.

Health/Durable Power of Attorney: Key Questions Answered

What is a Health/Durable POA and Who Can Create One?

Health/durable POAs give someone authority over any medical or health-care-related decisions while you’re alive. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide just how much power to give this person. Perhaps you have specific wishes regarding life support and emergency medical procedures. You may want to ensure that another guardian is on standby to take care of your minor children if you’re unable to. In order to prepare for the future, health/durable POAs are an essential part of the estate planning process.

A health/durable POA is combined with a living will to establish an advance directive in Maryland. You must be 18 years or older to write up a health/durable POA document. You also need to be mentally competent and fully able to understand the powers you’re conceding.

What Steps are Involved in Executing a Health/Durable POA?  

The person establishing a health/durable POA is the principal, while the individual given authority is the agent. First, you must decide who your agent will be. You can then sit down with a skilled attorney to put your wishes in writing. The final POA document must be signed and recognized by the principal. Additionally, it needs to be witnessed by 2 individuals in the physical (or electronic) presence of the principal.

The POA will go into effect immediately unless the principal only gives authority after a specific event occurs (such as becoming incapacitated). Two doctors must also first confirm that the patient is unable to make decisions about their care. Remember you can always terminate a POA, but it must be done in writing and provided to the necessary medical institutions.

Why Should You Include a Health/Durable Power of Attorney in Your New Year’s Resolutions?

Unfortunately, few people consider the importance of a power of attorney. In most cases, drafting a will is the first thing on someone's mind.

At some point, all of us think about our own morality and what would happen to our loved ones if we passed away. However, we rarely consider what would happen if we suddenly became incapacitated or disabled. Establishing a health/durable POA is a great way to further solidify your estate planning.

Want to Know More about Health/Durable POAs? Partner with Atkinson Law. We’ll Take Care of You Like Family.

At Atkinson Law, we listen to all our clients and protect their interests so they can receive a positive legal outcome.  We’ll work with you and give you the best possible recommendation for your future. To learn more about estate planning and health/durable POAs, contact us today by calling (410) 882-9595 or visiting our website