top of page

The Best Time to Sign a Durable Power of Attorney

Attorney Thomas B. Burton discusses the best time to sign a Durable Power of Attorney for Finances and for Health Care, and reviews the reasons why every person should strongly consider having both documents in place.

Transcript of Video: The Best Time to Sign a Durable Power of Attorney

Today I want to talk about the best time

to form and sign a durable power of

attorney for finances or for health care

now both documents recall durable

because they're designed to survive your

incapacity what that means is you need

the document in place in a situation

where you're ever incapacitated and

unable to manage your own health or

financial affairs and there's two types

of power of attorney you need like I

said one is called durable power of

attorney for finances and property and

that gives your agent the person you

named the power to act on your behalf

if you're ever incapacitated or unable

to act in the second type is called a

durable power of attorney for health

care and that's similar to the financial

power except it's naming someone

specifically to act for you and carry

out your wishes and make guidance to

your health care

now in the health care document you're

going to make several choices about your

own care and what your thoughts are

about end-of-life care feeding tubes

resuscitation things like that so you

need to think about you and your values

and what's important to you before you

go ahead and make those choices in the

document and then it's important to

communicate those wishes to the person

you name as agent because if you are

incapacitated for example in a coma you

are going to be unable to communicate

your wishes and you're going to need to

rely on someone you know and trust to

communicate them and make decisions for

you with the healthcare professionals so

with the financial power it's similar

except this is someone who is named as

your agent of fiduciary to take charge

of your financial affairs pay bills

taxes insurance collect money rents and

like I said pay expenses

out of your actual financial accounts during

the period in which incapacitated so a

lot of people think if I form a will or

I'm taking care of because I

named a personal representative in the

will or an executive and while that's

great that does name someone was

authority to take over after your death

there is this big gap where you're still

alive where many people have no

financial power of attorney or

health care power of attorney with an

agent named to act on their behalf and

in my practice recently I've seen

several cases where people call me and

the loved one is already in the hospital

and they want to change beneficiary

designations or try to take action to

getting health for the person and I have

to ask them a lot of questions about

whether the person still has the

capacity to execute a document because

once you're in the hospital there's

going to be lots of questions raised

about whether you have the mental

capacity to know the extent of your

affairs to validly executed finance

of attorney or a health care power of attorney and

in fact the health care power of attorney

says it needs to be witnessed by two

disinterested witnesses and they cannot

be health care providers so based on

these recent situations I wanted to make

this video for clients and encourage you

to put your estate plan together

specifically these documents naming a

financial agent and a health care agent

while you're healthy and there's no

question about your capacity to execute

these documents in my opinion it is much

harder to challenge the capacity of

someone who executed a document when

they did it years before they had any

serious health or mental capacity issues

and when they did it with a qualified

lawyer signing the document in the

lawyer's office with two disinterested


so my best advice is to take care of

those documents well in advance of

before you would need them and then they

will provide you peace of mind that if

you ever are in a terrible medical

situation or incapacitated you have

someone a fiduciary named to act on your

behalf and your best wishes so thanks

for watching and we'll see you next time.

© 2020 Burton Law LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Transcript and captions provided for ease of access for the hearing impaired.

For questions about this topic, or to suggest a topic for a future blog post, please contact my office.

12 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page