For persons who no longer have the ability to care for themselves personally or financially. The courts may have to be involved to appoint a guardian if estate planning is not done. There are several estate planning tools that can be prepared to assist in the event of incapacity:

  • A Power of Attorney is a document naming another person to act on your behalf in carrying out financial transactions in the event of your incapacity.
  • Durable Power of Attorney: A general power of attorney gives the agent a broad array of capacity to manage the principal’s financial affairs. If the power of attorney is also “durable,” then the authority granted under it will continue even if the principal becomes incapacitated at some point in time, whether temporarily or indefinitely. Under these circumstances, an agent could continue to assist the principal in many activities.
  • A Health Care Power of Attorney names a person to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to make them for yourself as certified in writing by two licensed physicians.
  • A Living Will is a Statement where you declare if you have a terminal condition where death is imminent or you are in a persistent vegetative state, you wish to die naturally and do not want life prolonging procedures.

Mary Lawrence has met the requirements to be recognized as Certified Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation www.nelf.org