A power of attorney is an important document for many reasons. Granting someone you trust a power of attorney allows that person, known as your "agent" or "attorney in fact," to manage your financial and personal affairs if you are unable to do so.
Your agent is empowered to sign your name and is obligated to act in your best financial interest at all times and in accordance with your wishes.
A power of attorney can be made “springing,” which means that it only goes into effect under circumstances that you specify, the most typical being when you become incapacitated (either from an accident or an illness).
Often that means your agent doesn't have any power over your affairs until he or she provides doctors' letters and sometimes court orders to prove you are incapable of making decisions for yourself.
An attorney can help you decide which form makes the best sense for your circumstance. In any case, take care in choosing your agent. That person should be competent, trustworthy, willing to take on the burden of your affairs and financially secure.
If you choose a relative or friend as your agent, you probably won't have to pay them. But if you name a bank, lawyer or other outside party, you will likely need to negotiate compensation, which can range from hourly fees to a percentage of your assets paid annually.
Why do I need a power of attorney?
No one is immune from aging or the loss of mental clarity that may come with it. And you're never immune to health crises that may leave you unable to handle the business of your life: paying bills, managing investments or making key financial decisions.
If you become incapacitated without having a power of attorney, the court may appoint a “conservator” to manage your affairs and handle your money, property and investments.
This process might cost your family well over $2,000 in attorney’s fees and court costs, not including the cost of the lawyer who will be appointed by the court to represent you during the court proceeding (this lawyer is called the guardian ad litem).
The person chosen by the court may not be someone you would have picked. Assigning someone you choose and trust a power of attorney now could save you and your family from heartache later on.
To learn more, please visit our Wills & Power of Attorney page or contact us for a free consultation.
How can we stay curious and engaged with life? By learning new things! It’s been proven that new experiences boost our self-confidence and resilience.
Did you know that learning can help you live longer? Psychologist Laura Carstensen, director of the Stanford Center on Longevity, says: “I think most social scientists would put their money on education as the most important factor in ensuring longer lives.” In fact, studies have shown that college educated individuals are expected to live longer than those who did not receive a college education.
Did you know that many community colleges offer discounted rates to seniors wishing to audit classes? Another fantastic and free learning resource is TED Talks. TED Talks are presentations offered by experts from around the globe that cover a multitude of subjects. Find out more about them here.
Formal education aside, learning can come through many different forms. No matter what your age is, learning new things can help keep your mind sharper.
Harvard Medical School recommends taking up a new skill or hobby. You may consider joining a social or special interest club in your area. They also recommend going somewhere new each day. If your mobility is limited, try simply making an effort to notice new things around you.
In Mahatma Ghandi's words: “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
A playground that caters to both seniors and children... and it's on the beach, no less! What a creative way for seniors to combat loneliness and promote healthy movement.
We’ve all been there. You’re running late to your loved one’s doctor’s appointment and they need an urgent stop at the nearest fast food joint for a restroom break. Then on the way back to the car you’re pushing their wheelchair with one hand and holding a newspaper over their head with the other, because- surprise- it just started to rain.
Outings with loved ones who have delicate health issues, limited mobility and/or frequent and urgent needs to stop at the restroom can be stressful to say the least. When going out is this hard, we often resort to the easier option of staying home. But getting out and about in the world is what makes your loved one happy and fulfilled. So what can we do? Here are five tips to make trips easier:
1. Have a plan.
The first step to a successful outing is having a plan. Before you leave the house, think through every step of the process, from transportation to the medication doses you may need to take along. What’s your plan B if your loved one becomes too tired, anxious or confused?
2. Check the weather.
This is a simple concept but one that’s too often forgotten. Find out if it’s going to rain. The last thing you want is for your loved one to get wet and catch a cold. What’s the temperature going to be like? If it’ll be 90 degrees outside and you’re going to a picnic, make sure there’s a place where you can seek shelter and cool down. If it’s freezing out, consider preheating the car before the trip and always have a blanket handy.
3. Know where the restrooms are.
If you’re going to a ball game, for example, find out in advance if the restrooms are wheelchair accessible. If you’re only working with Porta Potty’s, you may find yourself in quite a bind. You’ll make it a lot easier on yourself and on your loved one if you check in advance that there’s always an accessible restroom close at hand.
4. Have the right equipment.
If your loved one uses a walker and your outing is going to take several hours, you may want to consider having a folding wheelchair in the car as a back-up if they become too tired. Pack a bag with all the necessities: sunglasses, tissues, hand sanitizer, water and snacks.
5. Give yourself enough time.
It always takes longer than you might expect. Leave the house early. Give yourself a buffer of time, so that if any snafus do occur you won’t find yourself anxiously running late. If you arrive early to an event or an appointment, just sit, relax and spend time with your loved one. This will help keep them calm and worry-free as well.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is a psychological disorder affecting many of our nation’s veterans. In fact, studies have shown that up to 14% of Iraq War veterans suffer from PTSD, and a startling 50% of those with the disorder do not seek treatment.
PTSD is caused by external, traumatic stress. Symptoms of this very difficult disorder include depression, insomnia, anger, eating disorders and substance abuse.
But now a recent study published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry has linked PTSD to an acceleration of the aging process. The study was led by Dr. Dilip V. Jeste of the University of California, San Diego, and resulted in evidence of reduced telomere length in patients with PTSD. Telomeres, compound structures at the end of chromosomes, shorten as people age.
Researchers also found that patients suffering from PTSD may face premature mortality; meaning an increased chance of an earlier death.
These findings show the need for further research into the mental illnesses that affect millions of Americans.
The National Center for PTSD offers further information and resources surrounding the disorder. The US Department of Veterans affairs provides a 24/7 hotline for anyone experiencing a crisis at: 1-800-273-8255.
Welcome to our blog at Legal Solutions for Seniors!