Many of you have probably heard of a power of attorney, and you may also know of a "health care proxy," "health care power of attorney," or "health care instructions." These are the documents that when drafted properly and in accordance with our wishes, enable someone to take care of us when we are unable to take care of ourselves.
If these health care and financial "instructions" are drafted properly, they should also indicate how we want someone to take care of us. We are all unique persons with unique needs, likes and dislikes.
(Tip: This is often overlooked. Make sure your documents reflect this and are not just a list of powers…your estate planning attorney can help ask the right questions to get to the bottom of what you want/need).
Now let's take this a step further. If you have kids that have gone away to school and are 18 or older, you might need to be able to make health care or financial decisions for them at some point in time. How will you go about doing that without a court order if your children are considered adults in the eyes of the law? The answer is that a power of attorney and health care documents can be drafted for your children naming you as their agent and health care rep.
Without these documents, you can probably expect time consuming administrative difficulties, and you very well may need to hire an attorney where your child is located to go to court to request permission for you to access to your child's health care information, and make financial and health care decisions for your child. From a practical standpoint, this can be a very big problem given the fact that time can be an issue when it comes to an emergency health care situation involving your kids.
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