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Once again – I am not a lawyer. This is my understanding. Consult your attorney for clarification in your area.
There are two different power of attorneys – one for medical care and one for financial. You need both regardless of your age. Both can be changed at any time and need to be if there are changes in the people involved. The people named do not have to be family members. Usually there are two named in case one is not available. Whomever you choose should be consulted prior to this decision and have a complete understanding of what your wishes would be in any situation.
Medical care power of attorney is so that someone can make decisions if you are unable to. This does not mean just when you are old or have dementia. What if you were in a car accident, had a critical illness, etc? It is straight forward and says who can make those decisions.
Financial power of attorney is so that someone can make financial decisions for the same reasons above. You can limit what the person can do but mom’s basically said I could do whatever I needed to do.
Both medical power of attorney and the living will should be given to your medical team. We gave a copy to mom’s doctors and the hospital. When we moved her here, we then gave copies to her new medical team including the local hospital. If there becomes a nursing home involved, they will want one too.
Bottom line – you need to have them. An attorney can draw up a straight forward one without much time. It literally could be a life saver and is worth the money.