While it is advisable that every adult, no matter how old, have an advance health care directive (or "living will") in place, it is especially important for the elderly. These legal documents specify the decisions made by a person ahead of time should that person become unable to make the decisions later due to illness or incapacity.
Power of Attorney
A concern shared by many people as they age is over who will be making decisions on their behalf if they are ever in a position where they no longer can. The decisions people face as they get older can have very serious consequences, and it is very important that, if you are unable to make those decisions yourself, then you leave that ability in the hands of someone you trust.
A power of attorney is a legal contract that allows you to appoint someone to act on your behalf. The power granted can be limited to a specific decision or category of decisions, or it can be a broader power to act on your behalf in all circumstances. Someone granted power of attorney will be able to enter contracts on your behalf, manage aspects of your finances, and otherwise make the important decisions for you if you are unable to make them yourself.
Importantly, without establishing a power of attorney in someone you trust, you may be placed in a position where, unable to make decisions for yourself, your family must ask a court to appoint a guardian for you, effectively granting a stranger the ability to make big decisions on your behalf.
Consulting with one of our experienced attorneys will give you the perspective you need to determine who is best suited to be granted the power of attorney for you, under what circumstances you want that person to be able to exercise the power, and how general or specific you want that decision-making power to be. We will draft the document describing your grant of power of attorney so its effect will be in perfect sync with your wishes, and so, when these decisions need to be made on your behalf, your appointee will be able to make them with minimal delay and confusion.
Like a Power of Attorney, establishing a Health Care Proxy lets you place the power to make decisions relating to your medical needs in the hands of someone you trust. Unfortunately, as we get older, the likelihood that medical decisions will need to be made on our behalf only gets greater. Entrusting someone with this power ahead of time greatly reduces the possibility that such decisions will be made contrary to your wishes.
A living will, or advanced health care directive, is a document that lets you express certain health-care related wishes and expectations on paper ahead of time. Instead of relying on someone else to make decisions for you, these documents allow you to specify how you would decide if you were able to express the choice yourself at the time.
The types of health care decisions that you have to anticipate ahead of time to designate your health care proxy or commit to a living will can have significant philosophical, religious, and quality of life implications. Our attorneys will be able to help you understand the types of decisions that are better planned for ahead of time, and help you determine the best person to serve as your health care proxy, should you ever need one. We can also help you set up your living will so it most accurately expresses what you want, so if these decisions ever need to be made, they will be handled without confusion or challenge.