HEALTH CARE DOCUMENTS
A Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care (DPAHC) allows a person you name (your agent) to make decisions regarding your health care when you are unable to. You should name more than one person, so if the first named person is not able to make these decisions for you, your next named agent can step in.
The document can be as specific or as general as you would like. If you have strong feelings about not being on life-support, or other medical procedures, this may be one of the most important estate planning documents you have.
In addition to stating your desires as to your health care, the DPAHC should include provisions allowing your agent under the document to receive information about your medical condition so an informed decision can be made.
The DPAHC should also state whether you want your agent to authorize an autopsy or make gifts of body parts.
The DPAHC is not a substitute for discussing your wishes with the agents you name to make medical decisions for you.
This Authorization is a separate document authorizing health care providers (such as doctors, dentists, health plans, nursing homes, and pharmacies) to release health information about you. Without this authorization the “HIPPA” rules may prevent release of Medi-Cal information to your agents, trustees and other persons operating under your instructions.
POWERS OF ATTORNEY
A Durable Power of Attorney for Asset Management (DPAAM) allows a person you name (your agent) to sign documents and take actions on your behalf.
The DPAAM can be drafted very broadly to allow your agent to take any action you could take yourself, such as banking, buying and selling stocks, or even refinancing your home.
In determining whether to execute such a document, you need to look at the circumstances and make sure the agent you select is someone you have full trust in.
A Limited Power of Attorney (LPOA) is a document which allows someone you name (your agent) to take actions on your behalf with respect to a specific transaction.
For instance, you might want to give a person a power of attorney to close the sale of your house. You could do this through the use of a LPOA, which specifically limits your agent’s powers to those related to the sale of the house. The agent could not act in any other circumstances.
A Special Power of Attorney (SPA) is a type of Limited Power of Attorney which allows the person you name (your agent) to transfer assets into your family trust for you.
Only assets which are in the name of your family trust at the time of your death avoid probate. If you have forgotten to transfer an asset into the family trust before you die, your agent under the SPA is able to make the transfer for you while you are alive, thereby avoiding probate on the asset.