May 20, 2019
If You Do Nothing Else for Yourself and Your Family: Get a Financial Power of Attorney and a Medical Power of Attorney
If You Do Nothing Else for Yourself and Your Family: get a Financial Power of Attorney and a Medical Power of Attorney…
If you do no other planning, you need to get disability documents in place. These are a Financial Power of Attorney, a.k.a. Durable Power of Attorney and a Medical Power of Attorney, a.k.a. Patient Directive.
While it is important to get your wills, trusts, and deeds in place- these are really secondary documents. These protect your assets and your legacy to pass on to your loved ones. But in order to pass on your legacy, you’ve got to take care of yourself first.
When you are in an emergency situation, you need to already have your documents in place. Once you are being wheeled into surgery, or get a knock on your head and are suddenly incapable of speaking or thinking- it’s too late. If you do not have Medical or Financial Powers of Attorney already in place, your loved ones will need to go to court and ask to be appointed a guardianship (for medical decisions) or a conservatorship (for financial decisions) for you. The judge can decide to go along with your loved one’s request, or may decide someone else is better suited for the role- which may be another attorney, with a large docket of cases they are already trying to handle. This can make a very stressful time much more difficult.
But you can take control by getting those documents in place ahead of time. We can create those documents for you as part of a comprehensive estate plan, or you may choose to just create those Powers of Attorney individually.
The Medical Power of Attorney is important as it concerns your medical care and end-of-life decisions. By statute in Michigan, hospitals must use all heroic measures to save your life- which potentially may mean feeding tubes, breathing tubes, etc., – and potentially being in limbo on life support for weeks, months even years. Remember Terry Schiavo? Terry was the woman who was in a coma for eight years. This was because her loved ones were fighting over whether or not to disconnect her from life support- because she did not have a Medical Power of Attorney. But you can decide how you want to be taken care of, and what measures you want the ER, hospital, or nursing staff to take when caring for you, by creating a Medical Power of Attorney.
The Financial Power of Attorney allows the person you have chosen to make financial decisions for you. This can also be very important in an emergency. This document will allow someone to continue to do the day-to-day task of running your household- like paying your bills or taxes, or depositing cash or checks into your bank accounts. But it also allows your “agent”, a.k.a. chosen person to do more- like moving money out of your accounts to pay your bills- for example, your IRA’s to pay your medical bills, or cash out your stocks.
At The Elder Care Firm, we give you an additional envelope containing your Financial Power of Attorney and Medical Power of Attorney, so when you or your loved one are in a rush, in an emergency, you can grab the packet and head right out the door. A little bit of planning when you have the time will make your life, and possibly your loved one’s lives a little easier in a very stressful time.