If you had a medical emergency tonight, what would happen to your finances? Is there someone you have already appointed to manage your affairs?  If not, you should consider a Durable Power of Attorney document. During a serious illness and recovery from a medical event, it is vital that your finances continue to operate smoothly. Bills need to be paid timely, and your income and assets are managed by a person you select to do that for you. That is the purpose of a Durable Power of Attorney (POA) document.  In a POA, you appoint a person who you trust to manage your financial affairs if you had a medical emergency, or other medical event or diagnosis, that makes you incapable of managing your own financial affairs, either permanently or temporarily. If you do not have a POA, your family member may have to petition the court to become your guardian or conservator in order to act on your behalf. This is an expensive and time consuming process, and the decision of who takes over your finances is made by a judge and others, and not by you. This is why a POA is so important for every person over age 18 years. You should be the one to decide who will manage your affairs, but this document must be completed while you are competent. 

Another document everyone needs is a Health Care Proxy. This form allows you to appoint a person and an alternate, to make a medical decision for you if you were mentally incapable of doing so, either temporarily or permanently. As above, if you do not have a valid Health Care Proxy, signed in the presence of two witnesses, your relatives may have to go to court to obtain a guardian for you, which is time-consuming and expensive. A valid Health Care Proxy is the legal way to state your wishes about this vitally important role in your health care. 

Tip: Checking your beneficiaries on life insurance policies, stocks, bonds, IRA accounts, 401k and other investment accounts will save a lot of time and money when the time comes to distribute these accounts. If you leave the accounts with no beneficiary, your estate must be probated, which takes additional time and money.

These and other issues can be solved by executing necessary documents with an attorney. Covid guidelines, masks, gloves, and in person meetings are held, with many conversations by zoom or phone. The cost is reasonable, and you will sleep better tonight!

Attorney Marie T. Jablonski

Phone: 413-205-2912 Email:  marietjab@yahoo.com