A power of attorney authorizes a trusted agent to communicate on behalf of an ill or otherwise vulnerable individual. Two distinct types of legal documents offer protection. One may prevent medical mistreatment. The other could help avoid financial exploitation.
As noted by Cancer.org, an advance directive provides instructions that help health care professionals understand a patient’s personal wishes. The Patient Self-Determination Act requires medical professionals to honor their patients’ wishes as specified in written advance directives.
Health care surrogates may communicate medical issues
Severely ill or injured patients may not have the ability to communicate. An advance directive allows a surrogate to speak with physicians and nurses. He or she may discuss medical histories and preferred treatments.
A health care proxy may discuss a patient’s wishes for in-home care or hospital treatments. A proxy may also discuss residential care or nursing home facilities. An advance directive provides an opportunity to appoint a representative before an individual becomes ill or incapacitated.
An individual may also need a financial power of attorney
As noted by U.S. News, a financial power of attorney authorizes a trusted representative to assist with money management. A financial POA allows a personal representative to manage banking or investment matters.
According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, seniors lose billions of dollars each year. Much of the abuse comes from unknown strangers. A senior could also experience significant losses from financial exploitation by relatives. A financial POA could help prevent both forms of abuse.
Individuals requiring caretakers may divide their responsibilities between health care and financial matters. An advance directive authorizes a health care surrogate to discuss issues regarding medical care. A financial POA authorizes a trusted representative to assist with managing finances.