Individuals requiring assistance with their personal care may consider adding the power of attorney documents to their estate plans. Depending on the help needed, you may create a legal document for your medical treatments and a separate one for your finances. You may divide the duties between two trusted individuals.
The Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara website notes that an advanced health care directive allows you to name an agent to assist with your medical care. Your agent could make decisions for you if you become ill or incapacitated. Your document may include instructions to communicate your wishes with health care professionals.
Am I required to name an agent for medical care?
California law also allows you to create an advanced health care directive without naming an agent. You may name a trusted adult to contact in your directive, or you may appoint someone to serve as your surrogate. By leaving copies of your document at a hospital or with your doctor, the staff generally follows its instructions.
As noted by the American Cancer Society, an agent listed on your advanced health care directive only communicates your health care wishes. This allows you, however, to plan and discuss your preferred medical treatment in advance. Your health care agent should have a good understanding of your physical needs in the event of an emergency.
How may a dedicated financial agent help?
When you create a financial power of attorney, you may name an individual to assist with your financial matters. As noted on the County of Santa Clara’s website, your chosen financial agent could write checks, trade stocks and file tax returns for you.
California residents may create legal documents to assist them. A financial agent may help manage a budget and sign contracts. These duties generally require different skills than a health care agent who oversees medical treatment.