Power of Attorney

Power of Attorney

Though there are different levels and types of power of attorney, a health-care power of attorney lets you appoint your agent (sometimes known as the patient advocate) to make important medical decisions for you in the event you cannot communicate with your doctor. The durable power of attorney lets you designate an agent to manage your assets in case you are too sick or otherwise unable to do so yourself, but you should understand that different types of power of attorney have one common goal: to allow someone you appoint to make legally binding decisions when you are incapable of doing so. Whether they are financial, healthcare-related, or guardianship decisions that need to be made in your absence, having a trusted friend or family member as an agent will help provide you with peace of mind.

If you live long enough you inevitably will suffer from the symptoms of Dememtia. Dementia, is a broad category of brain diseases that cause a long term and often gradual decrease in the ability to think and remember that is great enough to affect a person’s daily functioning. The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, which makes up 50% to 70% of cases. Other common types include vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia and frontotemporal dementia.

Why the Power of Attorney is Critical for Your Future

Having the power of attorney could, in some cases, be more crucial than a will – though you should have both to ensure the protection of your estate and your loved ones’ futures. The power of attorney will allow you to designate an individual that you trust to put your affairs in order if you lack the mental capacity to do so yourself.

You see, the power of attorney is a legally created document that appoints an individual to make healthcare decisions, among other affairs, if you should become incapacitated. Knowing that you have someone to rely on if you become injured or incapacitated will let you live life with peace of mind knowing that your wishes will still be carried out. They key benefits of the power of attorney include:

  • The ability for a trusted friend or family member to make decisions instead of a court
  • Eliminates the need to petition the court for legal guardianship
  • Gives families the chance to discuss collective wishes
  • Healthcare considerations can make be made ahead of time
  • Reduces the chance of court cases arising to decide what and individual’s intent was
  • Lends the opportunity to engage in asset protection planning ahead of time
  • When the agent is a family member, they will be given some manner of protection from accusations of financial abuse
  • Provides an entire family with peace of mind

 

Orlowsky & Wilson receive numerous call from children and spouses concerning the declining mental capacity of a parent or spouse.  As baby boomers and their parents age such calls become ever more common.  My advice to individuals with this problem is to have their parent, spouse or loved one enter into a Health Care Power of Attorney and Financial Power of Attorney. These forms allow the loved one to select a person of his or her choosing to handle his or her health care and financial decisions.  If not already taken care of, the loved one should also complete his or her Will and Trust and plan for what might be a lengthy stay in a nursing facility.  Without these documents the spouse or child might be compelled to bring guardianship proceedings against the loved one in order to gain control of the person and estate of the loved one.  Nobody wants to initiate a Guardinship proceeding – it compromises the dignity of the spouse, parent or loved one, is very costly and inserts the court system into the decision making process.  Although at times guardianship is unavoidable, particularly where a loved one becomes physically hostile or uncooperative,  with proper Powers of Attorney and Trusts it can usually be avoided.

Seek Legal Advice Today

To schedule a free initial consultation for a will, trust, or power of attorney in Lake or Cook County contact us today at 847-325-5559. The proper use of wills, trusts, and power of attorney can be a tremendous aid to your loved ones after your passing.

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