Most people are aware of the fact that a power of attorney is a legal device that can be used to empower an agent or attorney-in-fact to make legally binding decisions on your behalf.
At Neyens Law, located in Oakdale MN, we are here to help you with the power of attorney that is the right fit for your overall estate plan.
There are general powers of attorney that give sweeping decision-making authority to the agent. A limited power of attorney is largely self-explanatory; with this document, you give the agent the power to act on your behalf for specific prescribed purposes.
Why are powers of attorney relevant to planning of your estate? A significant percentage of people become unable to convey their own decisions before they pass. If you are in this position, the state could be petitioned to appoint a guardian and/or conservator to make decisions on your behalf.
A conservator is an individual who handles the financial affairs of an incapacitated individual, and a guardian makes personal decisions that impact the day-to-day life of the ward.
Incapacity Among Elders
People of all ages sometimes become unable to communicate toward the end of their lives because of devastating physical ailments. This is one reason to put an incapacity plan in place, and there is another underlying cause of incapacitation among elders.
Alzheimer’s strikes over 30 percent of people who are over the age of 85. Cognitive impairment is another form of incapacity, and Alzheimer’s is not the only cause of dementia. Once you are in your mid-60s, your life expectancy is in the mid-80s, so this is a serious consideration.
Durable Powers of Attorney
From an estate planning perspective, durable powers of attorney are recommended to brace yourself for possible incapacity. With a durable power of attorney, you can designate an agent to make decisions on your behalf if you become unable to make them for yourself.
The “durable” designation is significant because this type of power of attorney will remain in effect upon the incapacity of the grantor or principal.
Your incapacity plan should include a durable power of attorney for property to name someone to make financial decisions for you if it becomes necessary. A durable power of attorney for health care should be added to designate a medical decision-maker.
Living Will and HIPAA Release
While we are on the subject of powers of attorney as they apply to incapacity planning, we should complete the picture. A living will should be added to assert life-support utilization preferences, and you can add comfort care medication and organ donation choices as well.
Because of provisions contained within the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, medical personnel are not allowed to share records with anyone other than the patient. You should sign a HIPAA release to give your representative the right to access your medical records.
Take Action Today to Create Your Power of Attorney
We are here to help if you’re ready to work with an Oakdale, MN our law firm to develop a plan that includes a strong Power of Attorney including an incapacity component. You can send us a message to request a consultation appointment, and we can be reached by phone at 651-478-8999.