Power of Attorney & Cremation Authorizations
Powers of Attorney & Cremation Authorization
There are basically two types of powers of attorney that we recommend on a regular basis for our estate planning clients. A medical power of attorney and financial power of attorney. Our policy is that in most cases the powers of attorney are not effective until the client is unable to make decisions. In the financial power of attorney, this springs to life when the client’s doctor certifies the inability or if the client’s doctor is unavailable then the certification by two doctors. Why do we recommend a deferred financial power of attorney? First, we think each person should be in charge of their own decisions unless incapacitated. Second, while the relationship between spouses is a bond with a strong sense of trust, there are incidences where a spouse is unaware of the other spouse’s inability to control one’s self such as gambling or substance abuse. If the financial power of attorney is effective immediately, then the spouse who has a problem can use the power of attorney to dispose of assets or encumber assets without the other spouse’s knowledge.
Cremation is a client’s personal choice. The law in Louisiana allows the client to make that choice in writing providing instructions on who has the right to order the cremation and who has control over the ashes. Executing this document helps to avoid family disputes.