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Why you Should Have a Power of Attorney

Lynn Maxim, LMSW, Geriatric Care Manager

What is one of the most important legal documents every adult should have?  It is a Power of Attorney.

Why is it so important? A Power of Attorney is a document that allows an individual (who you choose) to make decisions on your behalf. If something were to happen to you and you do not have a Power of Attorney, your loved ones would be forced to file for Guardianship.

Guardianship proceedings cost thousands of dollars and take valuable time. Think about who you would trust to make decisions on your behalf and visit an elder law attorney to have a Power of Attorney prepared.

A Power of Attorney was formerly a simple, one page document that you could download from the internet. Within the last several years this document was revised and it is now a longer and more complex document.  A power of attorney can be limited to a specific act or it can be general.  There are different types of power of attorney; the ones most related to medical care are referred to as durable and medical.

It is important to work with your family members and loved ones and decide who would best fulfill your wishes if you are no longer able to speak for yourself.  This is a serious decision and should be thought out, but it is also very important to make sure you complete a power of attorney as a part of your long term planning.
posted on April 17, 2012