Power of Attorney in Salt Lake City, Utah

Creating a power of attorney (POA) is an important part of protecting yourself and ensuring that you received the type of medical care you want if you become incapacitated. It is essential to choose someone you trust to decide on your behalf. Creating a power of attorney is a smart idea for anyone, even if you do not anticipate having any medical issues. The agents you choose to be your power of attorney can be friends, loved ones, family members, faith leaders, or even lawyers. The important thing is that your power of attorney is someone you trust.


The Benefits of Completing a Power of Attorney

Many benefits come from creating a power of attorney in Utah. Some people assume that you have to be a certain age to create an advance directive, but accidents and illnesses can occur at any time. When you decide whom to choose as your power of attorney, it should be someone trustworthy who understands your wishes. Make sure you choose someone who will be comfortable enforcing your wishes, even if they would not have made the same choices. 

Some of the many benefits that come from creating a power of attorney include:

  •  It is a relatively inexpensive estate planning method
  •  It grants you and your loved ones peace of mind
  •  You decide who makes decisions on your behalf
  •  You decide the level of authority you grant your agent
  •  If your condition improves, you will be able to resume making decisions for yourself


You are in Control

When you create a power of attorney, you are in control. You can decide the scope that you would like to give your agent. For example, if you only want your agent to decide whether to take you off life support if a doctor declares brain death, you can limit the scope of the power of attorney document.


Durable Power of Attorney

A power of attorney gives the agent you choose the legal power to look after your affairs. There are different types of powers of attorney. A healthcare power of attorney is often called an advanced care directive or a healthcare proxy. A healthcare power of attorney gives the agent the ability to make certain healthcare-related decisions for you if you are declared incapacitated.

What will happen to your financial situation if you become incapacitated? You have the choice to create a durable power of attorney. A durable power of attorney allows the agent to act on your behalf, and they will keep making all your decisions for you until you are declared competent. 

A durable power of attorney is also helpful if you are deployed in the military and would like your spouse or a trusted friend to make certain types of financial decisions for you while you are gone. Taking the time to create a durable power of attorney is one of the best ways to have peace of mind knowing that your affairs will be taken care of by your financial agent.


Choosing Your Power of Attorney

In many cases, choosing your agent is one of the most challenging aspects of creating a power of attorney. It is important to choose someone you feel would make the same decisions as you. The individual you choose needs to be at least 18 years old. In some cases, people choose to select multiple co-agents to work as a team to make medical decisions or financial decisions on their behalf. Some pros and cons come with appointing various agents, and we can discuss them with you and help you make the best decision possible.

We also recommend choosing a backup power of attorney if your agent is no longer able or willing to step into the role. If you have experienced a significant life change, it is wise to reevaluate your durable power of attorney or advance healthcare directive. For example, if you were recently divorced or recently remarried, you may want to change your agent, especially if it was your ex-spouse. We recommend asking your agent whether they would like to fulfill the role before appointing them as your power of attorney.


Creating an Advance Directive

An advance directive is a specific type of legal document that details all of your wishes about what type of care you would like to receive. The advance directive will only come into play if you suffer an injury or illness that prevents you from making decisions for yourself. In other words, doctors will not review your advance directive until you have been declared incapacitated. You will be able to state whether you would like CPR, ventilator use, tube feeding, and artificial hydration should you be involved in a medical emergency. You will also be able to state what type of comfort care you would like.


Obtaining a Power of Attorney for a Relative or Parent

Watching our loved ones age can be a complicated process. If your parent is aging and concerned about making decisions if they become incapacitated, we can help you create a power of attorney. Your loved one will need to be of sound mind when he or she signs a power of attorney in the presence of a notary or witness. 

If you are seeking out a power of attorney for your loved one who is in hospice care, is hospitalized, or is in a nursing home with Alzheimer’s or dementia, you may need to seek a letter from a physician stating that they are of sound mind and able to understand what is going on when they sign a power of attorney. Do not wait until a medical crisis occurs to obtain your power of attorney — reach out to a lawyer today.