Precaution & power of attorney

Healthcare proxy, living will, care directive

No one is protected from the possibility of no longer being able to look after themselves. Whether due to a serious illness or an accident, it can happen that we are dependent on the help of others. In this case, many people fear that a guardian unknown to them will be appointed by the court to look after their financial and non-financial affairs. This includes the regulation of all account matters, the management of assets, including real estate, the determination of residence, decisions in the event of illness, etc.

1. health care proxy

In order to avoid the appointment of a court-appointed guardian, it is possible to grant a so-called health care proxy to a trusted person. In the event that you are no longer able to manage your own affairs, this person is then responsible for this and not a stranger. A notarized power of attorney is not absolutely necessary, but in the event that real estate assets can also be disposed of, this must at least be notarized. However, there are also legal transactions for which representation can only be entered into by means of a notarized power of attorney, e.g. in the case of a consumer credit agreement (taking out a loan). In practice, notarized powers of attorney are generally recognized so that the authorized representative can exercise comprehensive representation of the principal.

The power of attorney can be structured according to the wishes of the principal, which means that it can be granted either without restriction or only for certain powers. It can also be stipulated that it is valid externally, i.e. vis-à-vis third parties, from the time it is signed and issued to the authorized representative. In the internal relationship, i.e. the relationship between the principal and the authorized representative, instructions can be given as to when the authorized representative may use the power of attorney, e.g. in the event of hospitalization, in the event of incapacity or simply if the principal requests it.

If a health care proxy is to be notarized, the notary drafts the document, adapted to the needs of the principal, and reads it out in full at the appointment so that important information and explanations can be provided again during the notarization. If the authorized representative loses the power of attorney, they always have the option of obtaining a new copy from the notary. If desired, the notary can also register the power of attorney in the register of powers of attorney so that it can be found quickly by authorities or hospitals.

2. living will

The purpose of a living will is to ensure that, in the event that a person is no longer able to express their own wishes in certain life-threatening situations, the doctors treating them are aware of the patient's wishes and can take them into account. Although this does not have to be notarized, in many cases it is linked to the health care proxy. The notary discusses with the client what instructions he would like to give to the doctors in the event that he is no longer able to express his will himself. It can also be determined whether or not to consent to organ donation and whether artificial nutrition or hydration is desired in certain situations. If illnesses are already known, these can be addressed in the living will, whereby it makes sense for the client to discuss this with the doctor treating them in advance.

3. care directive

The care directive is there to specify who you would like to be your caregiver in the event that one should be necessary. The guardian can also be given instructions on how to manage the assets. An advance care directive is often combined with a notarized health care proxy and living will.

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