Power of Attorney and Living Wills: What You Need to Know

Attorney Eric Bialas discusses Power of Attorney and Living Wills and how they are helpful when caring for aging parents. For your convenience, the transcription for the video is included below.

Power of Attorney and Living Wills: What You Need to Know

“Hello, my name’s Eric Bialas – an attorney at Hynum Law located here in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. I would like to speak to you today about Power of Attorneys and Living Wills. Do you notice that mom or dad have been needing a little bit more help doing their checkbook recently? That they’re not paying their bills on time? Perhaps they’re getting a little bit more forgetful, and they’re not taking their medicine.

You find that you’ve been trying to help them out, you went to the bank, you’ve been trying to pay their bills, but you’ve just been given the runaround. You’ve been trying but you just can’t get it done. They say that you need some sort of legal authority to get this done, you might not know what that means.

What Power of Attorney Can Do

Well, I think a Power of Attorney could really help you on this. Let me explain a little bit further. A Power of Attorney is a legal document in which an agent is created to help either medically or financially with mom or dad’s needs. A Power of Attorney can be as specific or as general as mom or dad chooses.

You can grant general powers: such as carte blanche finances and paying bills, being able to do tax returns, medical assistance, all sorts of things. Or it can be a specific as just being able to pay bills, to pay the nursing home perhaps if they’re in a facility at the moment. A Power of Attorney can be very helpful in these situations, at it will meet those needs.

Carrying Out The Wishes of Your Loved Ones

Another important thing to remember about a Power of Attorney is that it is helping mom and dad do exactly what they want to do. It’s rather than a court coming in and appointing somebody to do these, mom or dad gets to choose a loved one and say exactly what they want – which is very helpful.

What Living Wills Can Do

Another important thing to remember given these situations is a Living Will. At the end stages of life, there comes a time when there might be medical procedures that come to place. Do you really know what mom or dad wants? Have you ever spoken to them about it? Even more importantly, will you have the authority even if they did? It’s very important to have this document so that mom or dad have exactly what they want so that there’s not a family debate or an individual struggle.

If you don’t know if mom wants CPR or not? To make that decision can be very difficult, and it can really have a personal toll on you. If you were to generate these documents with an attorney and to have these wishes known, it could greatly help the situation for everybody involved.

Prerequisites to Filing Power of Attorneys and Living Wills

One important thing to remember about these documents, Power of Attorney specifically, is that one needs the requisite mental state to enter into a legal document. If you don’t have that mental state due to whatever incapacity you may be suffering from, the only real solution to this is to apply for Guardianship.

The Differences Between Power of Attorney, Living Will, and Guardianship

While Guardianship can do many of the things that a Power of Attorney can do, it is a longer legal process. You have to petition the court and request that they appoint a guardian, which presumably would be yourself. You have to attend a court hearing, you have to have a medical professional speak as to mom or dad’s incapacity, and there’s also a lot of time, and unfortunately, expense involved in doing this. If this can be negated through a Power of Attorney, which is a much simpler and quicker process, it’s obviously the preferred way to go.

The Next Step

So I encourage anybody that’s in these situations to consider coming to a law office and to draft a power of attorney to prevent problems that may happen in the future. If you have any problems regarding these issues, please feel free to contact us or give us a call at Hynum Law at (717) 801-1105. We’d be glad to help you out with these issues or any other healthcare issues you may have. Thank you.”