Making official plans for medical and money decisions
Q. Can you settle a disagreement? Do I need to have two separate forms to give someone permission to handle my money and my health decisions, or is it the same one?
A. It’s so important to make sure you have made plans — official plans, on paper — to give permission to make decisions on your behalf should something unexpected happen to you.
Stephen Craffen of Stonegate Wealth Management in Oakland, said almost all of his clients have those powers in separate documents.
“You can have the same person responsible for each but we do not recommend that they be combined in one document,” he said.
Powers of attorney enable someone — the attorney-in-fact — to manage all your finances and make other decisions on your behalf.
“If it is a Durable Power of Attorney — as opposed to Springing [power of attorney][/power] — that person can sign for you even if you are not incapacitated or disabled,” he said. “Usually any bank or financial institution that a person works with will want to have their legal department carefully review the power of attorney to verify that it does give the named attorney-in-fact the power they are claiming.”
Craffen said having decisions regarding health in the same document may just muddy the waters, and it’s something that a bank or financial institution has no business seeing.
“I guess it is possible to combine this all in one document but why would you? We see no benefit to doing that,” Craffen said.
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Karin Price Mueller writes the Bamboozled column for The Star-Ledger and she’s the founder of NJMoneyHelp.com. Click here to sign up for the NJMoneyHelp.com weekly e-newsletter. Like NJMoneyHelp.com on Facebook and follow it on Twitter.