Managing the affairs of an ill spouse is an emotionally and sometimes legally challenging experience. Depending on your particular circumstances, and the state of your spouse's health, you may want to consider the benefits of a power of attorney for your spouse. There are specific procedures to establish a power of attorney to allow you to act on behalf of your spouse.
Determine the particular needs of your spouse. Ascertain whether she is in need of assistance with health-related decision making or financial matters.
Consider whether a financial power of attorney is necessary. In most cases, spouses do not need a financial power of attorney if one of them becomes ill. More often than not, their assets are jointly owned and one or both of the spouses can make decisions regarding their property. However, if your spouse owns property exclusively in her name, a financial power of attorney is necessary if your spouse desires you to assist in dealing with financial matters.
Obtain a standard form financial power of attorney for your spouse to execute. Make sure that the financial power of attorney is durable. Durable means that it remains in effect if your spouse becomes incapacitated. A non-durable financial power of attorney actually terminates if your spouse becomes incapacitated. You can obtain an appropriate durable financial power of attorney from a bank or other financial institution.
Arrange for your spouse to sign the durable financial power of attorney. The signing is done in front of a notary public.
Retain the original durable financial power of attorney. Armed with the durable financial power of attorney, you are able to act on behalf of your spouse in regard to financial matters and decision making.
Obtain a durable power of attorney for health care if your spouse desires to designate you to make medical decisions if he becomes incapacitated and unable to make these decisions independently. Hospitals, medical centers as well as churches and religious personnel usually have durable power of attorney for health care forms.
Assist your spouse in making arrangements to sign the durable power of attorney for health care in front of a notary public.
Take the original durable power of attorney for health care after it is signed and notarized. The instrument provides you the authority to make medical decisions for your spouse when your spouse is unable to do so.
- "A Practitioner's Guide to Powers of Attorney"; John Thurston; 2007
- 'Lectric Law: Power of Attorney
- Hand and document at the meeting image by Dmitry Goygel-Sokol from Fotolia.com