Validating a power of attorney

The POA may become effective upon execution of the document, or upon your incapacity (a “springing” POA).

While the former selects a person to make medical decisions for you when you are incapacitated, the latter apprises your health care provider of your wishes concerning life-prolonging treatment.There are also ways to draft the document to lessen the risk of being taken advantage of.For instance, it is a good idea to make the POA as specific as possible and include mechanisms to hold the attorney in fact accountable.The living will is only applicable when you are near death, perhaps long after your health care surrogate has been making decisions on your behalf.According to Kentucky law, the living will is inapplicable until a person has a terminal condition that will result in death within a short time, or is permanently unconscious, meaning they have an absence of brain function. Either condition must be determined by your attending and one additional physician.When formulating your estate plan, you might want to arrange for more than property distribution.The documents described below are types of advanced directives, documents that provide guidance concerning future financial or medical care in the event that you become incapacitated.Multiple surrogates can disagree and cause confusion for health care providers at a time when swift decisions are crucial, since decisions must be unanimous. Be sure that the person you designate is willing to serve – discuss this with them in advance – because if the surrogate refuses to make a decision, a physician has to proceed as if there is no surrogate. Like a POA, a designation of health care surrogate should name an alternate, in case the designee is unwilling or unable to perform these duties.Since the living will itself has to follow a strict statutory form, its powers are rather limited.When this happens, conflict and resentment inevitably follow.You should make those big decisions yourself and spare your family the discord when they should be free to grieve.

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