AHD, EPOA, BDBN- What does it all mean?
Not that we like to think about it but if you were in hospital and unable to make decisions who would make them for you? Your husband/wife? What if they were in hospital too?
AHD – Advance Health Directive (sometimes referred to as a living will) is a legal document giving instructions for your future health care, and comes into effect only if you are unable to make your own decisions. An AHD also enables you to appoint an attorney for health and personal matters if you want.
You can use the AHD to express your wishes in a general way, such as stating that you would want to receive all available treatment as well as give specific instructions in regards to certain medical treatments such as cardio-pulmonary resuscitation; assisted ventilation, to keep you breathing if your lungs stop working; artificial nutrition and hydration.
An AHD allows you to formally outline your views about the quality of life that would be acceptable to you.
If you are over 18 and have capacity you can have an AHD. A lot of people organise when they are going in to hospital for serious surgery. You will need your Doctor to sign the AHD and then also have it witnessed by a JP, Commissioner of Declaration or solicitor.
It’s a sobering thought but a study completed in the United Kingdom a few years back said that our mental abilities can start to decline much earlier than you would like to think. They even suggested as early as 45 years… not sure I agree however it shows how an EPOA is something we should all start thinking about.
EPOA – An Enduring Power of Attorney is a legal document authorising another person, such as a trusted friend or relative, to act on your behalf to handle your affairs. This person is your attorney. The Power of Attorney conveniently allows someone to handle your affairs if you go overseas, take an extended holiday, suffer poor health, or reach an age when you need greater assistance. Knowing you have an attorney capable of dealing with your affairs when you are absent or infirm gives you peace of mind. We believe A Power of Attorney is just as important as a will.
While a will operates on your death, a Power of Attorney operates during your lifetime. It’s very important to have as if you don’t have one you are taking the risk that if you lose your ability to make decisions your financial affairs may be handled by a government department or institutional trustee for a fee.
It’s important to discuss this with your solicitor as they will be able to offer advice as to what sort of person would make a good attorney and the important things you should be thinking about when making an EPOA.
What is the difference between a General Power of Attorney and an Enduring Power of Attorney?
A General Power of Attorney is usually used in a business context by a corporation or an individual. It can authorise your attorney to deal with your personal or financial affairs, or both, and comes into effect on the date you elect. It may limit the extent to which your attorney may deal with those matters. A General Power of Attorney does not operate when you lose capacity to make decisions.