As you age, not only should your physical health be checked regularly, but your legal documents should be checked as well. The four main documents that every person should have are a Last Will and Testament, Financial Power of Attorney, Health Care Power of Attorney, and Living Will.
When you are younger and in good health, you may be able to have all of your health needs met by a general physician, but as you age and your circumstances change, you will most likely require a specialist. The same goes for your legal documents, as you age and your circumstances become more complicated, you may need an Elder Law Attorney to help you navigate those complications.
Each document listed above should be reviewed and updated if needed. There have not been many changes to the law that controls the Last Will and Testament, but that does not necessarily mean that this document will not require updating. For example, we have a husband, named Bob, and a wife, named Sally, who have wills that leave everything to each other outright. If Bob goes into the nursing home and Sally dies before updating her will, all of her property will go to Bob which then will be used for his care at the nursing home. This could be prevented by adding specific language to Sally’s will.
The Financial Power of Attorney law was updated in 2015. This update did not automatically invalidate Financial POAs from before 2015, but the change did make it much more difficult for an Agent to perform certain acts without the specific authority named in the document. The Health Care Power of Attorney and Living Will Laws have also been updated recently. These changes were related to organ donation. If you are an organ donor already but would consider donating additional organs or tissues, like arms and facial tissue, your documents should be updated to reflect your wishes.
It is important to get regular check ups all around and make sure that you are seeing the right people to confirm that you are in good shape.
For a free consultation contact Walters & Galloway, PLLC at (717) 697-4700. Jessica F. Greene, CELA,* LL.M. in Elder Law,* certified as an Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation as authorized by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Visit www.waltersgalloway.com