Powers of Attorney and Health Directives

In a Financial Power of Attorney, you may appoint a trusted person to manage your financial and business affairs on your behalf and in your best interest. In this legal document you, as the principal, give the agent certain authorities which might include the following:

  • Spend your money, cash checks and withdraw money from your bank accounts;
  • Sell your real estate;
  • File your tax return; and
  • Enter into contracts on your behalf.

If you want your spouse or children to be able to take steps to preserve your assets in the event you face the need for expensive long term care in the future, the existence of a broad, thorough, and valid Financial Power of Attorney will be invaluable.

In an Advance Health Care Directive you may appoint an individual to be your health care agent. In the Directive, you may also state your preferences regarding treatment, particularly life-sustaining treatment, and regarding final arrangements after your death.

With both Financial Powers of Attorney and Advance Health Care Directives, you do not lose any of your power to make your own decisions as long as you remain competent. This is very different from court-appointment of a guardianship or conservatorship by the Probate Court. When you sign a Financial Power of Attorney or appoint a health care agent in an Advance Health Care Directive, you are simply sharing authority with the agent. As long as you retain capacity, you can revoke the document or choose another agent.

You can read more about Financial Powers of Attorney and Advance Health Care Directives in these articles:

At the Maine Elder Law Firm, we strongly recommend that you work with an attorney to prepare any Financial Powers of Attorney.

You may also want to work with an attorney to prepare an Advance Health Care Directive, particularly if you have family members who should not make health care decisions for you, if you anticipate a dispute about your health care or disposition of your bodily remains, or you have unique preferences regarding treatment and are concerned that they might not be honored.

You can also view the Advance Health Care Directive Worksheet we offer to our clients.

There are several versions of Advance Health Care Directives available to the public at no charge. One that is widely used is the Maine Health Care Advance Directive Form which was most recently revised in February of 2008.

Here are other Directives offered by different entities: