What you and your loved ones need to know about power of attorney, living will documents and guardianships…plan ahead

Guardianships can be avoided through the use of living wills and powers of attorney documents.   Living Wills and powers of attorney can provide for that person and their family when the person is temporarily or permanently unable to handle his or her own affairs due to an illness or injury.

Advance instructions about health care preferences are commonly given in documents called living wills.  The laws of every state allow individuals to use living wills to direct health care providers and caregivers on the use of or withholding of life sustaining medical treatment, drugs or other treatment that may be offensive or not wanted by that individual for many reasons,  including religious reasons.

A power of attorney document is a document that authorizes a person to act as one’s agent on behalf of another.  You can have two individuals act together if necessary.   The agent can make decisions such as paying bills, investing money, filing tax returns, authorizing medical treatment (in certain states) and much more.   It’s an important document that everyone should have but also it needs to be kept in a safe place as your attorney can instruct you on that.

Should you become incapacitated and you do not have a power of attorney document, you may need a guardian.  Guardianship is a legal procedure by which a court declares an adult incompetent and appoints someone to manage the affairs.

Visit our website for more information or email us.  See an attorney regarding your estate planning.  You are never too young to prepare and take the basic steps.  Your lawyer can advise you on what documents you need how to prepare them and safe guard same.

Plan ahead.  The most tragic story is when someone becomes incapacitated and they now need to have a power of attorney executed but it’s too late. They do not have the mental capacity to execute it.  So since most of cannot predict the future, you need to have the documents in place before it’s too late.  The documents can be modified as your circumstances and life changes but it’s important to have them in place. Do not leave your loved ones with this burden.  It’s simply not fair to them or to you.

One last point, since we have extended families now, your Will is also important so that those whom you wish to inherit your Estate do and those you do not wish to receive anything do not.  Only a Will can do that.

We all plan financially; this is just one more part.

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About BonnieLawston

I am an Estate Attorney. I have been practicing for over 18 years. We handle contested matters, litigation, administration of estates and trusts, creation thereof as well as elder planning, preparation of Wills, trusts, power of attorney, living will and health care proxy documents. We are a full service firm in that we handle sending people out to secure a vacant home, do repairs if needed, secure the home, to filing the papers and obtaining the necessary court orders to administ the estate. Many of our clients live outside of New York and serve as the fiduciary of the estate. The estate must be in New York - the decedent must have some property in New York for us to help the executor. We offer senior citizen discounts, other types of discounts, hourly and percentage retainers. If the client and estate qualifies, we can offer a retainer whereby our office is paid at the end of the estate of upon collection of an asset so that no money is laid out thus it is not a hardship for the family. Please contact us and let us help you.
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