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Looking more in depth at each Power of Attorney
Financial Power of Attorney- A Financial Power of Attorney is (1) effective during your life unless revoked, and (2) upon death this document is no longer effective, and your Last Will and Testament governs.
Typically, if you have a springing power of attorney, the agent cannot act until two physicians agree that you are incapacitated, which may take a period of time. Our thought is that if you are appointing someone that you trust to serve as your agent, then in an emergency, you would want them to act immediately.
What powers should be included in my Financial Power of Attorney?
Health Care Power of Attorney- A Health Care Power of Attorney is effective if you cannot express your wishes to the physician, but are expected to recover from the medical issue. A Health Care Power of Attorney is the first part of your Advanced health Care Directive.
Typically, an Advanced Health Care Directive consists of a Health Care Power of Attorney and Living Will. The Law Offices of Samantha K. Wolfe separates the health Care Power of Attorney and Living Will into separate documents since each document is legally effective at different times.
What should a Health Care Power of Attorney include?
Living Will- A Living Will is effective if you cannot express your wishes to the physician and have a terminal diagnosis with no realistic hope of recovery. A Living Will is the second part of your Advanced Health Care Directive.
Typically, an Advanced Health Care Directive consists of a Health Care Power of Attorney and Living Will. The Law Offices of Samantha K. Wolfe separates the Health Care Power of Attorney and Living Will into separate documents since each document is legally effective at different times.
What should a Living Will include?
Mental Health Power of Attorney- A Mental health Power of Attorney is used in 2 situations:
1. When an individual has a history of mental illness; or
2. When an individual is planning for the second half of life and wants to address treatment for dementia or Alzheimer’s.
An agent under your Health Care Power of Attorney cannot consent to experimental treatment, and sometimes for federal funding purposes, a drug is labeled experimental, and you may want your agent to be able to consent to that treatment, after consulting with your treating physician and determining that is in your best interest.
Recommendations: The Law Offices of Samantha K. Wolfe recommends executing a Mental Health Power of Attorney to grant your agent the maximum amount of power he or she can receive under Pennsylvania law, so that your agent does not have to petition the court in order to have the authority to act in that manner.
**Please note that under Pennsylvania law, your Mental Health Power of Attorney automatically expires every 2 years. If you have capacity at the end of 2 years, we recommend that you execute an updated Mental Health Power of Attorney.