The power of attorney document is similar, but different from a health care directive. Both are extremely good to have and can save both a lot of money and a lot of stress.
A power of attorney document grants someone authority to engage in financial transactions for you. This authority is effective immediately upon the document being signed. This document does not permit decisions to be made by the power of attorney with respect to things such as where you live or your health care.
A health care directive grants someone authority to make decisions regarding your body and health care. This document gives your health care agent authority to act on your behalf only if you cannot communicate your own wishes. That is, so long as you can communicate with your health care providers, your health care agent cannot.
These documents are very inexpensive to obtain. But, filing a petition with the court to being appointed to have these powers can be expensive and take time away from helping a loved one in a dire situation. Your best course of action is to take control of who is making decisions for you, providing guidance on the decisions being made for you, and eliminating future stress.
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