Powers of Attorney & Healthcare Directives

Powers of Attorney and Healthcare Directives

One key part of estate planning is making arrangements for unexpected situations in your lifetime–including being incapacitated and unable to convey your wishes or make decisions about your own affairs. Many people wait to make these arrangements until they fall ill and recognize that they’ll soon need this type of help. But, we don’t always get advance warning.

Someone who is seriously injured in a car accident, for example, may be unconscious and unable to communicate with physicians and other healthcare providers. A person who has been diagnosed with a condition that affects cognitive abilities, such as Alzheimer’s disease, may lack the legal capacity to grant power of attorney to a trusted friend or family member.

It’s best to be prepared and make these arrangements while you don’t need them.

Healthcare Planning

There are two key elements to planning for your healthcare: an advance healthcare directive and a medical power of attorney. These two documents may be described in different words in different states, but the core function of each is the same, and they are both important to ensuring that your wishes are carried out even if you aren’t able to communicate them.

Advance Healthcare Directive

An advance healthcare directive, sometimes known as a living will, is a document that tells your doctors and other medical providers how you want certain critical medical issues handled. A living will provides your medical team with instructions on how you want to handle extraordinary measures such as resuscitation and life support if you are terminally ill or seriously injured.

Depending on your state, you may be able to include other instructions, such as how you want pain management handled, whether you want to be discharged to home or moved to hospice if you are terminal, and even whether you want to donate your organs.

Of course, you can’t make every medical decision in advance, since you don’t know what injuries or illnesses you may face or what treatment options will be offered. So, an advance healthcare directive is generally accompanied by another document.

Healthcare Power of Attorney

A healthcare power of attorney, also known as a medical power of attorney or healthcare proxy, authorizes someone you trust to make medical decisions for you if you can’t make them yourself. That would include situations in which you were unconscious or otherwise unable to communicate, as well as if you had been diagnosed with dementia or were otherwise mentally incapacitated and were no longer able to make your own decisions.

Some people assume a healthcare power of attorney is unnecessary, since their closest relatives will be asked to make the decision if they are unable. But, the situation isn’t always so simple. For example, if your next of kin is in a distant state, you may want to designate a healthcare proxy who will be more readily available in a crisis.

If you have two or more relatives who are related to you in the same way–for instance, three adult children–disagreements about your care may cause family strife and delay treatment. It’s best to designate one person who will have the final say. One consideration in choosing that person may be their willingness to consider the views of others close to you, such as their siblings.

Have Questions?

Our team is here to help with most legal issues that impact your life.

Powers of Attorney


The medical power of attorney discussed above is just one type of POA. The types of powers of attorney vary somewhat from state to state. Some states allow powers of attorney that take effect only upon a triggering event, while in others a POA is effective as soon as it is executed. Powers of attorney may be broad (usually described as a general power of attorney) or for a specific purpose.

Your estate planning lawyer can explain the options for a power of attorney in your state. The key purpose of a power of attorney in estate planning is to ensure that someone has the ability to manage your affairs if you become incapacitated. This may mean using your bank account to pay your mortgage and car payment while you are incapacitated, paying obligations like child support from your accounts, and filing your tax returns.

If your incapacity is long-term, the person holding your power of attorney may take care of larger matters, such as selling your home after you’ve moved into a long-term care facility.
It’s critical to choose the person who will hold your power of attorney carefully. That means not only selecting someone you trust, but also someone who has the knowledge and organizational skills necessary to manage your finances and other issues effectively.

Talk to an Estate Lawyer Right Now

The best time to make sure your interests are protected is right now. Whether you need specific documents, such as an advance healthcare directive and power of attorney, or you’re just getting started with your estate plan, an attorney knowledgeable about your state’s laws can be your best resource.

Resolve is America’s Consumer Law Firm

Dedicated Attorneys
Resolve attorneys share our mission to make high-quality legal services available to consumers everywhere.
Broad Consumer Services
Resolve offers a wide range of services to provide our clients with more comprehensive, coordinated service.
A Single Trusted Point of Contact
No matter what your consumer legal issue, you can make Resolve your first call. No searching, no stress.
Nationwide Coverage
Resolve attorneys are licensed in dozens of states and admitted to federal courts in many others. Wherever you are, we’re here for you.

Need Legal Help?

Get In Touch.
Whatever your legal issue, the best first step is to make sure you have reliable information and knowledgeable guidance.

We built Resolve Law Group–America’s Consumer Law Firm–to help ensure that people like you have access to the help they need, no matter where in the country they are.

To learn more about how we may be able to help, contact us right now. Fill out the contact form on the right, or call or email us today.


Resolve Law Group is a dba of Price Law Group, APC. Resolve Law Group is a law firm. This site is ATTORNEY ADVERTISING.

WE ARE A DEBT RELIEF AGENCY. We help people file bankruptcy petitions to obtain relief under the bankruptcy code.

Resolve Law Group attorneys are licensed in Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin. The firm may affiliate with or refer prospective clients to other law firms located throughout the country to provide legal representation.

The hiring of a lawyer is a critical decision and should not be predicated solely on comments, advertisements or other content found on any website.

An attorney-client relationship is not formed if you submit information through this site or if you call the phone number listed on this site.

In Missouri, we do not have a staffed office, and appointments are virtual.

Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. The legal information on this site is provided for general informational and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. The use or reliance on any information on this site is solely at your own risk.

Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Testimonials or endorsements do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter.

Contingent attorneys' fees refers only to those fees charged by attorneys for their legal services. Such fees are not permitted in all types of cases.

"No fee unless you win or collect" or “We never charge a fee unless and until we recover a settlement or win your case at trial refers to fees charged by the attorney and costs of litigation, unless otherwise agreed in advance.

Attorney Stuart Price, 6345 Balboa Blvd., Suite 247 Encino, CA 91316 is responsible for the content of this site.

For further information concerning the use of this site, please see our Privacy Policy.

Copyright © 2023 Resolve Law Group - Powered By Matador Solutions