Powers of Attorney
Most people are aware of the need for having a Will. Death, like taxes, is a certainty in our lives. But in today’s world, it is equally important to plan for managing our affairs should we become disabled. Death remains a certainty, but the probability of becoming disabled is nearly equally as certain. Why is disability on the rise statistically? Because of advances in medical science, people are living longer.
By putting an advance directive and appropriate power of attorney, in place while you are competent, you can avoid the expense, delay, and effort required for a conservator/guardian proceeding should you become incapacitated.
There are decisions you need to make every day of your life, regardless of your age and circumstances.
There are financial decisions: paying bills, making bank account deposits and withdrawals, directing your investments, buying and selling property, making gifts or charitable donations, choosing insurance policies and dealing with Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other benefit programs.
There are personal decisions: choosing where to live — in your own home, in a retirement home, with relatives, in an assisted living facility; choosing with whom to socialize; arranging recreation, travel, transportation; fulfilling spiritual or religious preferences; making funeral plans or burial arrangements.
There are health decisions: choosing a health care facility; choosing doctors; consenting to or refusing medical treatment; obtaining or disclosing medical records; deciding upon the course of treatment you want if you should become terminally ill or suffer serious deterioration in the quality of your life.
These are your decisions to make, not decisions for someone else to make for you. You have the right to make choices based on your values, beliefs, and wishes, even if others disagree with you. The law recognizes that these are your decisions. Courts almost always have followed the expressed wishes of competent adults, especially as to health care. This is why it is important that, while you are capable of clearly expressing your wishes, you state your desires in writing about financial and health decisions.
If you have set up decision-making tools prior to becoming incapacitated or disabled, then your wishes will play a major role in controlling who makes decisions for you and what decisions are made. These legal planning tools are a form of insurance, like health or auto insurance; they are a way of ensuring your personal autonomy.
For financial matters, the legal tools you should use are:
- Durable Power of Attorney
- Living Trust
For health-related personal choice matters, the legal tools you can use are:
- Medical Power of Attorney
- Living Will
- Advance Medical Directive
CONTACT OUR OFFICE FOR PROFESSIONAL HELP!
By specializing in elder law and estate planning, our legal team is able to meet every day with families young and old, and individuals like you who need help with legal and related financial and healthcare decisions.
Call Hale Ball Carlson Baumgartner Murphy, PLC to consult with an experienced lawyer from our firm.
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