A previous post here discussed the importance of including durable powers of attorney in the estate plans of Buffalo residents. In review, a durable power of attorney gives a named party the right to make financial decisions on the part of another person who is unable to do so due to incapacity. Incapacity can happen to anyone at any time. An accident or unexpected illness may leave an otherwise healthy individual without the power to take care of their own affairs.

Similarly, individuals may also want to consider creating health care powers of attorney which are also known as a health care proxies. Like a durable power of attorney, a health care power of attorney gives decision-making rights to a named party as an agent. However, through this form of estate planning document, the powers granted to the named party revolve around the medical care of the incapacitated person, not their money and assets.

When incapacity occurs, it may be unclear to the affected person’s family members what they want done to treat them. While some people want all life-saving and life-prolonging actions to be taken, others may wish to have medical efforts stopped if it is clear that they will not recover from their impairments. A health care power of attorney or Health Care Proxy may explain these and other issues and give the power to enforce them to someone that the document’s creator trusts.

Anyone can benefit from having a health care power of attorney in their estate plan. In order to begin the process of creating one, it is important to understand your own unique estate planning needs.  Contact one of our attorneys to discuss what your options are and how you can benefit from this type of estate planning.