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What's in a Name: Healthcare vs. Durable Power of Attorney

By: Attorney Shira Truitt


A healthcare power of attorney (HCPOA) and a durable power of attorney (DPOA) are two legal documents that allow someone to appoint another person to make decisions on their behalf in the event that they are unable to do so themselves. While both documents are related to end-of-life planning and decision-making, they serve different purposes and have some key differences.

A healthcare power of attorney is a document that allows a person to appoint someone they trust to make healthcare decisions on their behalf if they are unable to do so due to incapacitation or inability to communicate their wishes. The HCPOA typically becomes effective when the person is unable to make their own healthcare decisions, and it remains in effect until the person recovers the ability to make their own decisions or passes away.

A durable power of attorney, on the other hand, is a document that allows a person to appoint someone they trust to handle their financial and legal affairs if they are unable to do so due to incapacitation or inability to communicate their wishes. The DPOA becomes effective as soon as it is signed and remains in effect until the person revokes it or passes away.

It is important to carefully consider the terms of both an HCPOA and DPOA and choose an agent who is trustworthy and capable of handling the responsibilities delegated to them. The principal should also clearly communicate their wishes and instructions to the agent.

It is also advisable to consult with an attorney when creating an HCPOA or DPOA to ensure that they are properly executed and meet the requirements of the state in which they will be used. In some states, a POA may need to be witnessed or notarized in order to be valid.

Both an HCPOA and DPOA can be important tools for protecting one's interests and ensuring that their affairs are managed in the way they desire, even if they are unable to do so themselves.

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If you need legal advice or a lawyer in Illinois or Missouri, please contact The Truitt Law Firm, LLC for assistance. For more information on The Truitt Law Firm, LLC or to schedule an appointment, please go to www.thetruittlawfirm.com.






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