You have many options available and each option varies by the amount of control your are willing to give to the person you wish to have the power to make certain decisions for you. Please see the table below which describes many of the options available to you as you prepare for incapacity.
|Legal Device||Party Who Chooses Your Decision-maker||Type of Decision the Legal Device Covers||Timeframe|
|You||The Court||Your Doctor||Financial or Property||Personal or Healthcare|
|(Financial) Power of Attorney||x||x||Effective when executed or otherwise state in the device, power ends when revoked or you die|
|Medical Power of Attorney||x||x||Effective upon your incapacity, may be revoked if you regain capacity|
|Guardian||x||x||The court determines when this device is effective|
|Conservator||x||x||The court determines when this device is effective|
|Healthcare Surrogate||x||x||Effective when appointed, becomes ineffective when you regain capacity|
|Living Will||n/a||n/a||n/a||x||Effective upon your incapacity, may be changed while you are competent|
For more information, see: West Virginia Health Care Decisions Act, W. Va. Code §§ 16-30-1 to -24 (2014); Uniform Power of Attorney Act 39B-1-101, et seq. (2014); Mental Capacity Standards in West Virginia: A Handbook on Legal Decisionmaking Authority (June 2002). A copy of this publication can be obtained by contacting West Virginia Senior Legal Aid, Inc. at 1 (800) 229-5068.