3) Medical Power of Attorney: If a couple is married, there are some inherent rights to the spouse for making medical decisions should their spouse not be able to make medical decisions. In most states, state law also provides a priority list of who can make decisions should they need to obtain court intervention. For unmarried parties, however, a cohabitating partner may have no legal rights to make medical decisions for their partner regardless of how long their relationship has lasted. Many persons may find themselves squeezed out of the decision-making process by their partner’s family. Without a Power of Attorney for Medical Decisions, the surviving partner may be at the mercy of their partner’s family for making critical health care decisions.
4) General Power of Attorney (Financial Decisions): This topic depends upon how the assets are titled. If a person has a joint bank account with sibling or parent, for example, your life partner may have no control over that account. A partner may have no control over the partner’s individual assets in case of emergencies due to the fact the asset is in the sole name of the partner. A Durable Power of Attorney for Financial Decisions to your partner becomes critical to allow them access to your financial resources and assets in the event you are disabled and unable to access your assets. Like the Medical Power of Attorney, without a General Power of Attorney, the life partner may find themselves financially squeezed out by the deceased partner’s surviving family.
5) Power of Attorney for the Disposition of your Final Remains: In some states (like Iowa), a person can execute a Power of Attorney for making funeral decisions and determinations as to the disposal of their final remains. As with the other Power of Attorney decisions, an unmarried party may have no legal right to make funeral decisions and could be squeezed out of the process (and maybe even the funeral itself) by the deceased partner’s family. This Power of Attorney would provide the life partner the authority to make funeral decisions/arrangements, as well as determine the ultimate disposition of their partner’s remains (such as cremation, burial, etc.).