Declining health is a frightening thought for most people, and it can happen at any age. You could be a healthy one day and in debilitating auto accident the next. Most people wait until their health heads south before they set up legal affairs such as power of attorney, but preparing early makes unexpected events less burdensome
Two Types of Power of Attorney
You can set up a power of attorney for finances, health care, or both. Fortunately, Mississippi has the Uniform Health-Care Decisions Act which regulates how a health care power of attorney is created, revoked, and treated by the state’s medical professionals.
In Mississippi, a valid durable power of attorney must be created by an adult or emancipated minor, be a written document that gives your agent (the person who will make decisions for you) authorization over your health and financial affairs, and it needs to be dated. It also must have the principal’s signature (that’s you) and the signatures of two adult witnesses. One of the adults can’t be a relation so a notary’s signature will do.
Stay on Top of Things Even When You Physically Can’t
Abusing power of attorney is a major concern now a days. Financial institutions are even choosy of who they’ll accept because of the liability. When setting up your power of attorney, you should choose someone trustworthy to be your agent.
Although you may trust this person completely, it doesn’t hurt to put some controls in place. For instance, a “springing” power of attorney doesn’t go into effect until you are incapacitated. Thus, there’s no chance for them to have access to your funds until it’s truly needed. Other controls can dictate what financial arrangements the agent is allowed to handle and how much they can access.
Leave the original power of attorney with your lawyer for safekeeping and give your agent a copy. Make sure your physicians and financial institutions will comply with it, or find ones that will. Lastly, keep the power of attorney current by renewing it every six months as well as the associated paperwork with physicians and financial firms. Each state is a little different. If you need help in Mississippi, Tennessee or Missouri, let us know.
For more advice and help setting up your power of attorney, stop by to see us at Bosserman Law.