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Durable power of attorney helpful at end of life

People in Florida understandably may not want to have conversations about end-of-life issues. However, the population is aging today, and medical advances have the potential to prolong life. Thus, these discussions are important and it is wise to hold them sooner rather than later. One document that addresses end-of-life issues and is expedient to add to an estate plan is the durable power of attorney.

This document is authorized by state law. With it, an individual can serve as an agent and make decisions when one is incapacitated or cannot make these decisions for oneself. In this way, a durable power of attorney is akin to a living will.

The durable power of attorney is different from a living will, however, in that the person with power of attorney can make decisions on one's behalf for the length of time of one's incapacitation. Living wills typically are not utilized in everyday matters -- only when one's life is threatened. A health care power of attorney can also be helpful in that it permits the person with power of attorney to decide on matters related to funerals or burials.

When creating a durable power of attorney and other estate planning documents, it is important to ensure that these documents are signed and executed properly. Otherwise, they may be deemed invalid. Appropriate legal guidance may help people in the state of Florida to complete the estate planning process successfully and thus ensure that their wishes will be fulfilled when end-of-life-related decisions must be made.

Source:, "Do you have a will, or a power of attorney?", Andy Kravetz, Oct. 21, 2016

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