Date: 12/7/21

Author: Attorney Andrew J. Mertzenich

Financial Vs. Medical Power of Attorney

A power of attorney or POA for short, allows an individual to give legal authority on the behalf of another. To clarify, an agent appointed by a power of attorney is someone who make decisions for you when you are no longer able to. Furthermore, an agent can assist in your decision making when it pertains to things like your finances and healthcare. The two types of power of attorney are “medical” and “property” and are entirely separate from one another. 

Financial Power of Attorney

First, we will begin by breaking down what a financial power of attorney is. A financial POA gives a person you designate the ability to make financial decisions when you no longer can. For example, this person can pay bills or handle other things like a real estate transaction. Furthermore, you pick your agent. Therefore, be sure that whomever you elect is someone you trust completely. 

Medical Power of Attorney

Separate entirely from your financial POA, there is what is known as a power of attorney for health care. Similar to your POA for finance, here you will select an individual to make your medical decisions. Once again, you will want to elect a person who you can trust entirely and who knows your wishes regarding medical treatment. You can choose to have someone make medical decisions immediately after you execute your POA for healthcare, have them only have access to your medical records, but not be able to make decisions, or you can make it, so they only have authority over you and your information after you are unable to make decisions for yourself. 

How it Works?

Unlike your financial POA, your medical one will only handle related decisions like treatment and care. In addition, the person you elect must still follow your wishes. To clarify, you will still be able to make decisions regarding your health care, however your POA will execute your wishes if you are unable to do so. Lastly, if at any point you are unhappy with you elected POA’s, you can withdraw their appointment at any time.

More on Estate Planning

To learn more about all that goes into creating an estate plan follow this link to our Estate Planning Guide or visit our Estate Planning page.