lifelong learners

Power of Attorney and Personal Directive for Seniors

Why are Power of Attorney and Personal Directive so Important for Seniors?

Bring up talk about legal documents and many people’s eyes begin to glaze over, especially if you’re a family caregiver. After all, you have enough to do caring for your senior loved one without worrying about complicated legal issues and paperwork, right? However, two legal documents can potentially be important in the life of family caregivers and the seniors for whom they care: Personal Directive and Power of Attorney.

Generally, a Power of Attorney “POA” is a legal document that gives an individual the power to act on another person’s behalf. In other words, having this document in place could give the older adult in your life the confidence in knowing that choices about their financial life would not be left in the hands of a stranger if they no longer could make decisions for themselves. A POA allows adults over the age of 18 to designate another adult to manage their financial affairs if, because of health issues, they couldn’t.

More specifically, an enduring POA is one that can stay in effect even when the individual can no longer make decisions on their own or loses capacity because of a physical, mental, or cognitive condition.

So why go through the hassle of putting these legal documents in place? Not doing so can creates a risk. For instance, if something happens to your loved one who does not have an enduring power of attorney, you may have to go to court to get the authority to handle that person’s financial affairs and that can take weeks to months.

  • POAs have the ability to give seniors who have them in place greater control over their lives. For example, if you were your mother’s POA and she could no longer handle her business affairs, you would have the authority to pay bills, manage her daily business dealings, manage property, file taxes and apply for public benefits such as CPP or GIS.

A Personal Directive is a “medical” power of attorney legal document.  In general, a Personal Directive makes one individual a healthcare Agent for another. Depending on the situation, this can allow the Agent to do, for example, the following:

  • Direct the medical care that someone needs. For instance, if your father was ill or needed surgery and you were his healthcare Agent, you could work with medical professionals to determine the type of care he receives, the doctors and care providers who treat him, and even where he lives while he recovers.

There are certain things POAs cannot do:

  • Change someone’s will
  • Make decisions after their death (unless, for example, the POA is also the executor of the will)
  • Change or transfer POA to someone else

Remember, it’s important for you to obtain such documents as well. All adults 18 and over need these documents to help ensure their wishes are carried out if they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves.  A terrific graduation present for those young adults in your life.

Posted by Admin-FCI in Seniors Health and Wellness, 0 comments

March Events

Events this month that you may be interested in attending:

Caring for Your Aging Parents, Speaker Series

A group of service providers has teamed up to bring you information you may need as you navigate Caring for Your Aging Parents.

In this Speaker Series, each evening will include one segment followed by a Q & A session with the panel, as well as an opportunity to meet our partners and have a light chat.
This event takes place in its entirety over Thursdays (March 8, 15 & 22, 2018).
General health and care (March 8)
Financial and homecare (March 15)
Housing options (March 22)
Each night’s session will run from 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm.
Event ticket will give you entry to all sessions.

Caring for your Aging Parents

Also, check out PocketBook “Health” 101

Posted by Jill Chambers in Money Management, 0 comments