Scranton Power of Attorney
In the event of an unexpected medical condition, or deteriorating dementia, that renders you unable to communicate or otherwise make decisions for yourself, you will inevitably rely upon others to make decisions for you. These decisions range from your healthcare to your finances, and may or may not entail end-of-life choices, such as whether or not to use artificial nutrition or what to do with your business. Even if you have planned ahead by creating a simple will or even an advance medical directive (living will), your specific situation may render these two limited parts of your estate plan un-useful. This is because a written document cannot adapt to the scenario, and it cannot possibly cover as many medical issues or financial decisions as a person could. Because of this, it may be in your best interest to create a power of attorney—giving a person whom you trust to make medical and/or financial decisions on your behalf in your best interest. This person or persons, called an “agent,” needs to be someone who knows you well, that you fully trust, and who understands what you would want to have happen given the circumstances. Powers of attorney grant two types of decision making: medical decisions and financial decisions.
There are tens of thousands of different types of medical conditions, diseases, injuries, and scenarios in existence. The flexibility of a power of attorney offers a much broader range of problem-solving than a living will. The agent can make decisions about anything from:
- Which doctors give you care;
- Where you will live if necessary (memory care unit, nursing home, assisted living facility, etc. After all, according to the American Council on Aging, two-thirds of Americans will require nursing home care at some point in their lives);
- Surgeries and other procedures;
- Life-preserving methods used;
- End-of-life medical decisions; and
- Much more.
An agent with financial decision making can:
- Manage an estate;
- Pay bills and taxes;
- Hire another party to represent you;
- Manage your business;
- Purchase insurance;
- Manage your investments; and
- Much more.
The agent has a vast degree of responsibility and leeway to make decisions on behalf of the “principal,” and as such, must be a thoroughly trusted person.
Who Needs a Power of Attorney?
People of all ages can benefit from a power of attorney, especially those who have a serious medical condition or those of advanced age. Even if you are capable of making decisions for yourself right now, it may not always be that way. One in 10 people over 65 years old has Alzheimer’s dementia, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Dementia can come on relatively quickly. Even quicker is a stroke, unconsciousness from a car crash, traumatic brain injury caused by slipping and falling, or a major heart attack resulting in coma. These and other medical conditions mean that all adults should have a power of attorney.
A Scranton Lawyer Can Help You With This Important Estate Planning Decision
Because there is so much at stake when it comes to a power of attorney, you need to make sure everything is according to the law, and that you fully understand the consequences of, and have time to contemplate, this decision. To talk to a lawyer, call the Scranton law offices of Haggerty Hinton & Cosgrove LLP today at 570-344-9845 to schedule a free consultation.