If you were to become incapacitated and unable to make your medical and financial decisions, do you know who would speak for you? Ideally, you have executed formal legal documents, including a Durable Power of Attorney and a Health Care Proxy, in which you have named someone to make decisions on your behalf; however, many people are unaware of these very important documents. As such, they lose the opportunity to ensure that their voice will be heard should they become incapacitated.
A Durable Power of Attorney is a legal document in which you name someone to make decisions regarding your financial affairs in the event that you are unable to make them. Spouses, children, relatives and trusted friends are the most obvious choices, but care must be given to selecting the best person for the task, as this person will have complete financial control of your assets. Since the person selected in your Durable Power of Attorney will enjoy full access to your finances, there is potential for abuse. Thus, the individual selected must have a competent degree of financial savvy and must also have your best interests at heart. Another consideration to keep in mind is that as you age, those you name in your Durable Power of Attorney are also aging. As such, a succession of individuals should be named within the legal document, thus ensuring that if the first person named becomes unable to serve, the successor can intervene without delay. When the proper person is chosen, your financial affairs can continue to be handled in the manner that you would have chosen if you were able to make the decisions yourself.
Similarly, a Health Care Proxy is a legal document in which you name someone to make decisions regarding your medical care in the event that you are unable to make them. ...
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by: Gina M. Barry, Esq.