Estate planning in Tennessee is not solely about creating a will or establishing a trust. For many, a fundamental part of estate planning is to ensure that a person’s wishes are adhered to in other ways. Health care could be a worrisome issue and having a trusted person who has the responsibility for making decisions in a person’s stead should be considered. A durable power of attorney for health care can help the person – also referred to as the principal – achieve their goals and be protected. It is useful to understand the law when deciding if this is necessary and how to go about it.
What requirements must be in place for a durable power of attorney for health care?
The principal will name an agent to make his or her decisions under a power of attorney. In general, it goes into effect when the principal is incapacitated and unable to make these decisions on their own. For it to be valid, it must provide authorization to the agent. It must have a date for when it is executed. It must be written and signed by the principal. The signature has certain validity requirements that should be known from the start.
With the signature, if there were no witnesses, it is only valid if the signature has been notarized. Regarding witnesses, there must be two people present if it is not attested by a notary public. Any witness must be a competent adult and must be someone other than the agent. One witness cannot be related to the principal in any way through blood, marriage or adoption and is not entitled to receive part of the estate when the person dies based on the will or other estate planning document.
Having assistance can be essential with a health care power of attorney
A key part of estate planning, a health care power of attorney grants a trusted person significant say in the principal’s treatment. This can include end-of-life wishes, what kind of treatment will and will not be given, how far physicians should go in keeping the person alive and more. Clearly, it is wise to have guidance with a document this extensive. For this or any other aspect of estate planning, professional help can walk an individual through the process and give assistance in finding the ideal strategy that suits the needs and desires.