Powers of Attorney & Living Wills / Advanced Care Plans

The ads on the internet may make you think that these documents are simple.  Often, they are, but a main concern you should have is whether these types of documents comply with Tennessee law.  You do not want to find yourself in a situation where a third party refuses to acknowledge these documents when you need it most.

Powers of Attorney

There are two primary types of Powers of Attorney.  First, there is a Power of Attorney for “Legal and Financial Powers of Attorney” and “Healthcare Power of Attorney”.  In this document, you designate an agent to act on your behalf for a variety of legal and financial reasons, such as:

  • Signing documents
  • Receive or disburse funds
  • Buy, sell, lease real or personal property
  • Insurance policies
  • Access to safe deposit box
  • Contract and employ agents, accountants, advisors, lawyers
  • Borrow money
  • Banking Accounts
  • Sue, defend and settle lawsuits

Second, there is the “Healthcare Power of Attorney”.  Under this document, you can assign to your agent the responsibility of making healthcare decisions for you if you are unable to do so.  The powers of your agent only become effective upon a determination that the you are incapacitated and cannot make medical decisions of give informed consent for yourself.

Living Wills / Advanced Care Plans (Advanced Directive)

Your Living Will/Advanced Care Plan sets forth your wishes on topics such as resuscitation, desired quality of life, and end of life treatments including treatments you don’t want to receive.  Overall, this document does not come into play unless you have a terminal condition and the attending physician determines that there is no reasonable medical expectation of recovery regardless of the use or discontinuance of medical treatment implemented for the purpose of sustaining life.  Once such conditions occur, this document tells your doctor that you desire that life sustaining measures be withdrawn and that you be permitted to die naturally except for the administration of medications and/or procedures deemed necessary to provide the person with comfortable care and to alleviate pain.

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