The time may come when an elder loved one becomes unable to make decisions for him or herself, and in order to make medical or financial decisions for that person, you may need to have the court appoint a guardian, or conservator. This can be a difficult and time-consuming process, and you may begin to wonder if it can be avoided. The answer is that it can. As you engage in estate planning, preparing a will and so on, you can also prepare a medical power of attorney. The purpose of this document is to appoint someone to make medical decisions for you should you become unable to do so yourself. Simply put, it is a way to ensure that if your health ever becomes such that you can no longer make your own decision competently, your family will not have to go through the courts to appoint someone because you have already appointed someone yourself.
While the document is simple in theory and concept, preparing a valid medical power of attorney can be a complicated process. While a lawyer may not be necessary, an experienced estate planning lawyer will be able to explain the process to you, and make sure that what results is a document that will stand up and be recognized as valid should it ever be needed. You should know when you consider a medical power of attorney that it can also be revoked, so that if, in the future, you decide that the person you named is no longer the right person, you can change the document, as long as you are still competent to make such decisions. A Colorado estate planning attorney can help you draw up a medical power of attorney.
A financial power of attorney is essentially the same thing, except that it allows someone you choose to pay bills and make financial decisions for you as opposed to medical decisions. Like the medical power of attorney, it can be revoked or changed at a future time. While you hope that these kinds of documents are never necessary, having them can provide peace of mind that if your health deteriorates, someone who you love and trust will have the legal authority to make decisions for you.
Rhett Meyer is an estate planning attorney who has helped many Coloradans plan for the future. Rhett can handle the legal complexities of Powers of Attorney, and help you ensure that as you age, your family is able to care for you without the difficulty of working through the court system. For more information and a free consultation, call Rhett at (303) 444-1618.