Elder & Disability Planning Articles

Resources to Evaluate and Challenge Nursing Homes

When it’s time to find a nursing home for yourself or a loved one, how you start?  A good first step is Medicare’s website, www.medicare.gov.  On its homepage you will find a tab labeled “Find a Nursing Home.” Following that link will take you to the Nursing Home Compare page. That page will help you evaluate nursing homes in your area. It features ratings of nursing homes in every state based on federal inspection and data collection.

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Important Conversations–Who Will Manage Your Affairs if You Become Disabled

Important Conversations–Who Will Manage Your Affairs if You Become Disabled

A power of attorney allows you (the principal) to appoint another (your agent) to handle your legal and financial affairs, if necessary.Deciding what authority to give to your agent is very important. To understand your options you should speak with an attorney. Equally important is the person you choose as your agent.  Many people automatically choose close family members for this job. But you and your potential agent should be aware of the legal duties your agent will be accepting. The law in Pennsylvania sets out a number of legal duties of an agent. Some are mandatory and some are optional.

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Legal Duties of an Agent Appointed in a Power of Attorney

Legal Duties of an Agent Appointed in a Power of Attorney

There are both mandatory and optional legal duties of an agent under a financial power of attorney. The optional duties can be waived by the principal in the power of attorney. Before waiving any legal duties of the agent, the principal should consult with an attorney and consider the possible consequences.

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Legal and Scientific Thinking About Our Minds

The law has long recognized the importance of a person's mental state. When an adult takes some action, the law presumes that person has the required mental capacity to understand the likely results. Every day people make contracts, deeds, wills, powers of attorney, gifts of assets and some commit crimes. Every one of those acts is presumed to be knowing and voluntary. Our laws want people to benefit from, be obligated by and, when appropriate, be punished for the actions they take. But, our legal system contains special provisions for people who are less mentally capable of understanding the importance and consequences of their actions.

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So they Could Stay Together - the importance of a power of attorney

Recently I met with a divorcée about updating her will. After discussing the will, I asked her if she had a power of attorney (POA). She answered no, so I explained the benefits of having a POA. She said her father had urged her to update her will and told her she did not need a POA since he and her mother had never needed one. This reminded me of a situation in which I became involved a number of years ago. Read the story.

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Power of Attorney

Financial and health care powers of attorney are explained. Learn why they are important. A Power of Attorney document is one in which you, the "Principal", appoint someone as your "Agent" to legally make financial or health care decisions and sign documents on your behalf.

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