Powers of attorney have been mentioned or discussed in this blog several times. “Powers of Attorney”
and “Weaknesses in Powers of Attorney,” in particular, explained the importance of a well-drafted power of attorney. An aspect that has not been discussed is revocation.
The ability to revoke a power of attorney is a major advantage over court-ordered guardianship or conservatorship (guardianship of the person’s worldly estate). A principal who signs a power of attorney may revoke it at any time. A legally-incapacitated person, and even a person who consented to guardianship, cannot revoke the guardian’s appointment. He or she must file a petition with the court to terminate the guardianship. It can be very difficult to persuade the court to terminate a guardianship. Many judges are very paternalistic and in many courts persons who are subject to the authority of a guardian or conservator have very few…
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By Dr. Katie Eastman, William Lightfoot and Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino
From : Best Ever You
Former Sargeant, Bill Lightfoot, was a recent guest on The Best Ever You Show. Bill served with the Richmond Police Department for thirty-six years. He has served as an investigator and supervisor with the Property Crimes Unit, the Robbery & Homicide Division, The Narcotics Division, and the Criminal Intelligence Unit.
The show with Bill focused on caring for the elderly, elder abuse and ways we can be more mindful now to prevent or lessen issues later. To listen to the show Elizabeth and Katie hosted with guest Bill Lightfoot, click blog talk radio
The show prompted us to write these:
25 Best Questions to Ask Your Aging Parents.
1. What is most important to you about your aging?
2. If there is one thing you want to ensure happens when you are older, what would it be?
3. What are your three most important values? How do they relate to health, money and aging?
4. Have you thought about who best understands you and your values to make decisions on your behalf?
5. Do you have a certain idea/belief that you want to direct these decisions?
6. When you think about becoming medically challenged, what do you want others to know or to do or not do?
7. Do you imagine yourself living a certain way if you have future health challenges?
8. Do you have a living will or an advanced directive? (or Medical Power of Attorney)
9. Do you know someone who would best be able to make medical decisions on your behalf? Have you spoken with this person?
10. Do you know someone who would best be able to make financial decisions on your behalf? Do you have a legal Power of Attorney? Have you talked with this person?
11..Do you have a will?
12. Where do you imagine yourself living for the remainder of your life?
13.. Have you prepared yourself financially to support your aging medical needs?
14.. Is there an assisted living/nursing facility you would consider if it becomes necessary? Have you investigated different care facilities for quality/cost/needs?
15.. Do you have Long Term Health Insurance?
16.. Is there a friend/family member you would like to be closer to in proximity? What would this require if they are not close?
17. When did you last update your documents? Do you feel the need to update your documents? (Many fail to do this once they have a document in place.)
18. Have you discussed any of these decisions with anyone else? If so, who?
19. Do you have legal representation?
20. Do you have spiritual/religious beliefs and or a representative or organization in your life?
21. Is there any information/ documentation available somewhere (safety deposit box etc.) that may be needed to care for you?
22. Do you own objects that are sentimental and most valuable to you? Do you have them listed in a document/are they a part of a will?
23. What else about your aging is important to you?
24. Have I missed anything?
25. How can I show you the most love and support as you age?
More important than any question you could ever ask is to show love and compassion for the elderly.
Dr. Katie Eastman, Bill Lightfoot and Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino
Dr. Katie Eastman
Katie is the Founder of Children’s Palliative Care Community. Mentored by Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, Dr. Eastman has dedicated her career to improving the quality of life for seriously ill and dying children and those who care for them. She has a Doctorate in child psychology and a Masters degree in medical social work. In addition, she has studied and lectured extensively topics related to grief and loss, pastoral psychology, thanatology and all aspects of pediatric palliative care.
Katie serves as a Chief Advisor on The Best Ever You Network and is the co-host of The Best Ever You Show on Blog Talk Radio.
Bill served with the Richmond Police Department for thirty-six years. He has served as an investigator and supervisor with the Property Crimes Unit, the Robbery & Homicide Division, The Narcotics Division, and the Criminal Intelligence Unit.Bill served with the Richmond Police Department for thirty-six years. He has served as an investigator and supervisor with the Property Crimes Unit, the Robbery & Homicide Division, The Narcotics Division, and the Criminal Intelligence Unit.
Elizabeth is the Founder and CEO of The Best Ever You Network and host of the top-rated blog talk radio program, The Best Ever You Show. Her father, James Hamilton is a stroke survivor since 2004 and a kidney cancer survivor since 2011.
Elizabeth was resuscitated in 1998 from an allergic reaction.
For any will to be legally binding, its author must have (or be deemed to have had) the ability to understand the nature and effect of their will at the time of it’s writing. The capacity to understand the nature and effect of a will at the time of writing is referred to as ‘Testamentary Capacity’.
The same applies where an individual is looking to amend an existing will. He or she must be deemed to have testamentary capacity in order to make such changes in a legally binding manner.
Testamentary capacity is therefore determined by an individual’s ability to understand the nature and the effect of their will at the time that the will is made. In the vast majority of cases where the integrity of brain function is not in question, there is no need for an individual to undergo formal assessment of their testamentary capacity. However, where further evaluation is required in order to establish testamentary capacity, Clinical Neuropsychologists are arguably best placed of all clinicians to perform this type of evaluation and to provide expert opinion.
Having a diagnosis of dementia or any other condition affecting your thinking ability does not automatically negate your ability to write a legally binding will. The testamentary capacity of an individual with dementia will depend on a number of matters including:
- How long they have suffered with dementia.
- The severity of their cognitive losses.
- The type of thinking difficulties they experience (i.e. whether these relate to memory or language function).
- The level of complexity of their estate.
In some cases, it may be possible to facilitate the testamentary capacity of an individual via the adoption of strategies to support their function in the affected area of thinking.
Some people get help from friends or family or simply write their will themselves. The advantage of seeking professional advice is that a proper capacity assessment can be undertaken at or close to the time that the will is written, forming a safeguard against any future challenges on grounds of incapacity.
Where wills are challenged on grounds of an absence of testamentary capacity, Clinical Neuropsychologists may be called upon to provide an expert opinion on a retrospective basis. In such cases, Clinical Neuropsychologists integrate specialist knowledge of the symptoms and course of brain diseases with details / circumstances of their client, to infer the likelihood of testamentary capacity at the time the will was written.
The National Center on Elder Abuse defines Financial or Material Exploitation as:
The illegal or improper use of an elder’s funds, property or assets.
Examples include, but are not limited to, cashing an elderly person’s checks without authorization or permission; forging an older person’s signature; misusing or stealing an older person’s money or possessions; coercing or deceiving an older person into signing a document (e.g., contracts or will); and the improper use of conservatorship, guardianship, or power of attorney.
The Center lists the following warning signs and symptoms of exploitation and other forms of financial abuse:
Sudden changes in bank account or banking practice, including an unexplained withdrawal of large sums of money by a person accompanying the elder;
The inclusion of additional names on an elder’s bank signature card;
Unauthorized withdrawal of the elder’s funds using the elder’s ATM card;
Abrupt changes in a will or other financial documents;
Unexplained disappearance of fund or valuable possessions;
Substandard care being provided or bills unpaid despite the availability of adequate financial resources;
Discovery of an elder’s signature being forged for financial transactions or for the titles of his/her possessions;
Sudden appearance of previously uninvolved relatives claiming their rights to an elder’s affairs and possessions;
The provision of services that are not necessary; and
An elder’s report of financial exploitation.