With the aging of Americans, Disability Planning is becoming more and more necessary.
This situation is difficult to consider, but proper planning allows a person to set in place how and who they prefer to handle their affairs if and when they become unable to do so. Sadly, the alternative of doing nothing to prepare for when a person becomes unable to care for his or her affairs, is for the courts to do so through a Conservatorship or Guardianship.
There is a link to Conservatorships & Guardianships on the left side of this page. There you will find a description of services offered by The Elder Law Firm for Conservatorships.
The trouble and expense of a Conservatorship may be eliminated by proper planning. You know your business and who is better capable of handling your affair? In considering these matters consider who will best serve your interest.
The following is a list of tools to protect you in the event of incapacity.
Durable Power of Attorney for Business
A Durable Power of Attorney designates a third person to handle your business affairs. Durable means the power of attorney remains in effect in case of incapacity or disappearance. The Principal (the person granting the power) retains control of his or her affairs as long as possible. The Agent is under a fiduciary duty to handle the affairs in a proper and reasonable manner. The agent is granted authority to handle business affairs of the Principal as decided by the Principal. The document can be specific or general and the ward may control the extent of the grant of power.
Advance Healthcare Directive (Living Will)
An Advance Healthcare Directive (Living Will) is a document that designates another person to instruct medical personnel of your decision on whether to continue life through artificial means if treating the physician concludes there is little chance of meaningful life. The Principal has a variety of choices to make. This document allows the Principal to choose the terms and conditions of treatment that they want to receive at the end of life. These decisions include artificial respiration, hydration, nutrition and pain management.
Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare
A Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare is different from an Advance Healthcare Directive. A Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare designates a person or person(s) to make healthcare decisions if the Principal is unable to do so. The Agent may be authorized to perform anything that the Principal can do. The Agent is required to follow the known wishes of the Principal. The purpose of this document is not end of life decision, but quality of life. This document is useful in cases of diminished capacity, accident, heart attack, stroke or other situations where the incapacity may be temporary or permanent, but immediate death is not anticipated.
In a healthcare power of attorney, you name who you want to make these difficult decisions if you are unable to do so. Not all people are equipped to make healthcare decisions and you know who among your family and friends can best make these decisions. You decide who and instruct this person in what you want done in particular situations.