Under Pennsylvania law, if a person is unable to make health care decisions for himself or herself, the responsibility passes to that person’s spouse. If there is no spouse, it passes to his or her adult children.
A power of attorney offers the option of designating another person to make decisions on your behalf if you were to die or become incapacitated.
Protecting Your Wishes
At Berman & Asbel, LLP our estate planning attorneys will sit down with you and discuss your needs and wishes: listening, explaining and answering your questions; then execute a power of attorney that meets your specific needs and goals. Some possible legal documents we can create for you that will enforce your wishes when you are unable to express them yourself:
- Health care durable powers of attorney
- Medical powers of attorney
- Living wills or trusts
It is very important to specify who will be in charge of financial and medical decisions — someone you know who will speak on your behalf and make your wishes known. Durable powers of attorney offer the option of designating a person to do important financial tasks if you are physically unable to perform tasks (such as going to the bank).
Protect Yourself With Powers of Attorney for Financial and Medical Decisions.
The execution of financial and medical powers of attorney is particularly important in cases where a person has a life partner but is not married. These types of legal documents are crucial for unmarried, same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples whose rights in each other’s lives are not automatically recognized under Pennsylvania law. A well-drafted medical power of attorney grants your partner the right to visit you in the hospital, to have access to your medical information and to make medical decisions on your behalf.
Nominate One Particular Person to Make Decisions
Medical powers of attorney are also beneficial when someone has several children or siblings, but would like to designate a particular person to make health care decisions on his or her behalf. This document can spare your family the need to go to court and get a guardianship, a time-consuming and costly process, or avoid a court dispute between children who would otherwise have equal claim to make decisions for an incapacitated parent. A guardianship can also be used to protect incapacitated individuals from being preyed upon by unscrupulous people or scam artists.
Discuss Your Estate Planning Needs With Us in an Initial Consultation
Our Pennsylvania estate planning lawyers can give you the facts and help you decide whether your financial and family circumstances will require additional legal instruments to meet your future expectations.
Contact Berman & Asbel, LLP online or call 610-565-9696 if you would like us to help you plan for your future using health care or durable powers of attorney.