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Who holds the power for you?

Powers of Attorney – two documents that every adult should have.

A will is the central part of an estate plan, but there is much more. Two of the other important documents are Powers of Attorney – one for medical and one for financial.

A Power of Attorney does not give extra authority to a lawyer, but rather empowers a family member or loved one to serve as a designated representative for you. These are critical documents that every adult should have.

The Power of Attorney for Health Care allows you to name a person (your health care agent) who is authorized to make medical decisions for you in cases of incompetence. This person acts only if you are unable to make or communicate your own decisions. They act on your behalf, which means they make decisions that you would make.

The same is true for your Power of Attorney for Finance except the person is referenced as your Power of Attorney (POA) and they are limited to making financial decisions. The POA can assume authority when you request their assistance even if you are still competent.

I have a special message for young adults and their parents. Many of these parents assume they have the right to make medical decisions for their adult children, especially if they pay their medical bills, their kids are living at home, and they are under the family insurance plan. Those are not accurate assumptions. As adults those “kids” are legally able and required to make their own medical decisions. Parents who want the legal right to receive medical information and make medical decisions regarding their kids need them to create a Power of Attorney for Health Care. This is particularly applicable for those who go away to college in the fall.

We scheduled this topic specifically for July so families have time to take care of this in a timely manner. You can get free Power of Attorney documents from health care facilities, the State website, or download a free Christian version from Christian Life Resources (

An 18-year old might not need a will, trust or other estate-plan documents, but every adult, including 18-year olds, should have a Power of Attorney for Health Care.

Contact me ( for more information.

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