DO I NEED A POWER OF ATTORNEY AND ADVANCED MEDICAL DIRECTIVE?
Yes, everyone needs a valid, well-written power of attorney both for financial and health care matters. It’s just as important, if not more important, as having a Last Will & Testament. You should make sure your powers of attorney are updated every five years to ensure they remain relevant and legal.
What are the different types of Power of Attorney?
- Financial Powers of Attorney: This document allows an individual to manage your finances, property and investments during your incapacity or disability, when you cannot make decisions for yourself.
- Health Care Powers of Attorney: This document allows an individual to seek out and manage health care for you when you become ill, incapacitated or disabled and cannot make decisions for yourself.
- Living Will/Advanced Directive: This document expresses your health care wishes when medical professionals have determined that there is no realistic hope of significant recovery.
WHAT IF I DO NOT HAVE POWERS OF ATTORNEY OR A LIVING WILL?
Not having powers of attorney can be potentially burdensome for your family and others trying to care for you if you become incapacitated or disabled. Sometimes, a guardian will need to be appointed through guardianship proceedings. A court then supervises the guardian, and the guardian is obligated to provide an ongoing accounting of your affairs.
Although our firm is experienced in guardianship proceedings, we know that guardianship proceedings are more expensive and more burdensome. Therefore, we always recommend you have updated powers of attorney and living wills to avoid such proceedings.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I UPDATE MY POWERS OF ATTORNEY?
Powers of attorney can become “stale” and must be updated every few years. Institutions who must decide whether to accept the agent’s authority as power of attorney may not be apt to honor a 10+ year old document, because they may not be convinced your wishes are still the same.
WHAT ABOUT SAFEGUARDING MY POWER OF ATTORNEY?
You should store your original powers of attorney documents in a fire-proof records safe in your home. In addition, you may wish to electronically store your documents with our secure LegalVault service. This ensures easy access by hospitals (you will carry an ID card with you that hospitals can use to access your health care documents).
SCHEDULE YOUR INITIAL CONSULTATION TODAY
Whether you have an existing power of attorney that needs reviewing or do not have powers of attorney, please contact us today to set up your appointment. You can reach us at (215) 706-0200 or by emailing us.