What are medical and financial POA in Pennsylvania?

To learn more about the differences between a financial POA and a medical POA, continue reading and give our skilled Pennsylvania POA attorneys a call.

What is a financial power of attorney?

A financial power of attorney authorizes an individual you have chosen (your agent, or attorney-in-fact) to handle your finances. Typically, it is used so the person can step in and pay your bills or handle other financial or real estate matters. It can be a designation for financial professionals acting on your behalf, or you may use it to choose a trusted friend or family member to take on issues if or when you are unable to physically or mentally do so on your own. In some cases, it may also be used for isolated, one-off situations where it is not suitable for you to be present, such as a real estate closing in another location.

How does a financial POA work?

A power of attorney can take effect right after signing it, or upon the occurrence of a future event. If the power of attorney is convincing right away, it can be used even if you are not incapacitated. If its powers are “springing,” they don’t go into effect until a future event has happened. The most common future event is the incapacity of the principal. Incapacity only occurs when the principal is certified by one or more physicians to be either mentally or physically unable to make judgments.

Incapacity can be a consequence of mental illness, Alzheimer’s disease, being in a coma, or being otherwise unable to communicate. If it never becomes required, your agent may never use a power of attorney. In many examples, a financial power of attorney may be assigned to a professional as part of routine financial management.

What is a medical power of attorney?

A medical power of attorney or healthcare proxy appoints an individual to make medical decisions for you when you no longer have the ability to do so. The person you choose to make health care decisions on your behalf when you cannot is known as your agent.

Any competent adult can be your agent, but you will want to recognize that some states implement these exclusions: your physician or health care provider; an employee of your physician or health care provider (unless the employee is your relative); your residential health care provider (a nursing home, for example); an employee of your residential health care provider (unless the employee is your relative). If an individual has any of the aforementioned designations, they cannot act as your agent for the purposes of a medical power of attorney in some states.

How does a medical POA work?

A medical power of attorney will focus only on health-related decisions and will be documented according to the exact specifications of the individual making the directive. Because of this, medical power of attorney can contain provisions for a wide range of medical actions including personal care management, hiring a personal care assistant, determining medical treatment, and making decisions on medical treatments altogether.


Friedman Schuman is an experienced and dedicated legal resource for clients throughout Pennsylvania. Contact Friedman Schuman today to schedule a consultation.

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