Friday, October 13, 2006

Eldercare - important for the childless to grant power of attorney, etc.

Knowing when to let others decide
The ironic thing is that by being so independent and trying not to accept help from anybody, she actually gave up all her choices," said Deni, a librarian who lives in Little Falls. "Now a judge is making decisions for her."

It didn't have to be that way. Lawyers who specialize in elder issues say families can avoid these problems with two simple documents. The first is a power of attorney, which names someone to take care of financial matters in the event of incapacity.

The second is a living will, which spells out the kind of medical care you want and names someone to make medical decisions if you can't.
. . .
Deni and her cousins didn't have that kind of guidance from their aunt, who is childless.
. . .
When Deni showed up at the nursing home, she was treated with suspicion: Was she really a relative? Was she after her aunt's money? Because of health privacy laws, she couldn't even get much information on her aunt's condition. She couldn't get into her aunt's apartment to check for legal papers.
Although not strictly abut the childfree, I thought the specific way these issues bear on the childless make them worth noting. Friends and relatives who want to care for you can face even more obstacles than someone's chldren will - so there is an additional impetus for the childless to take such precautions.

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