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    Aging Well Partners
  • Aug 03
  • 2 min

Durable Power of What?!

Durable Power of What?!

What will happen to you in the event of an emergency where you are mentally and/or physically incapable of making sound healthcare and financial decisions?  You may think the hospital, or your financial institution will know who can make those decisions for you but unless it’s in writing, the course of your healthcare journey and/or the financial matters may be in a total stranger’s hands.

First off, the Executor you may have named in your will is NOT the same as being named your Power of Attorney.  The Executor of a will is the person who will make decisions after your death.  The Power of Attorney (POA) is a person or persons who may speak on your behalf while you are still living.  You can name the same person as your healthcare and financial POA, or you can name two different people.  Be sure to name an alternate POA – someone who would step in if the first person or “Agent” is either no longer living or willing to be your POA.  I once worked with a husband and wife who had name each other as their POA; and normally, this would be a fitting arrangement.  The problem arose when both husband and wife lacked mental capacity to make sound healthcare and/or financial decisions for the other.  They both had dementia and it took two months for the state of CA to appoint a conservator, during which time this couple had to reside in separate healthcare facilities.

Please don’t let this happen to you.  Their story had a happy ending, but many are not so fortunate.  Get your Power of Attorney paperwork in order today.  Name the person you want to make decisions for you in the event you are unable to make them for yourself.  And name an alternate or two – there are spaces for two alternates on the form – in case the person you named is either unwilling or unable to take on the responsibilities of being your POA.


Kie Copenhaver is a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA), Gerontologist, and co-founder of Aging Well Partners. Kie has worked over 25 years in the healthcare and aging industries, advocating for patient’s rights and the ability to choose what’s best for them.  She has taught at Mesa Community College in the Health Information Technology department and currently gives talks at Oasis Lifelong Learning geared towards planning ahead and aging well.  When Kie isn’t working, you can find her doing yardwork and digging in her flower beds.  Find Kie at www.agingwellpartners.com