Don’t Forget To Plan For Living!

By Curtis Darmohray

Your Will is an essential part of any Estate plan, but it only comes into effect on death. As such,  your Will is not able to address issues that may occur while you are alive, such as appointing representatives to act on your behalf in the event of mental or physical incapacity. Powers of Attorney (POAs), Representation Agreements and Living Wills are all important “Life Planning” tools that are effective while you are alive, and which can address these types of issues (amongst others).

A Power of Attorney is a legal document that appoints a trusted person to make financial and legal decisions for you. The power can be as specific or as general as you wish. More specifically, an “enduring” Power of Attorney, ensures that if you become incapacitated and/or otherwise unable to manage your financial and/or legal affairs, your designated attorney will continue to be authorized to address these matters on your behalf and for the duration of your life.

While a Power of Attorney is helpful in addressing legal and financial matters, a Representation Agreement can also be prepared to assist with one’s “health care” decisions. This form of agreement appoints a “representative” to make health care decisions on your behalf if you are otherwise unable to make such decisions due to mental or physical incapacity. A Representation Agreement ensures that your designated representative will continue to be authorized to make health care related decisions on your behalf for the duration of your life, and greatly assists the often difficult decision making processes involved in attending to these matters.

A Living Will is a document which clearly expresses your wishes with respect to receiving life sustaining medical care (i.e. life support), when death is otherwise imminent.   Living Wills can be a separate document or they can be included as part of your Representation Agreement, and in either case they make it clear what your wishes are with respect to receiving life support treatment  (or not).

Powers of Attorney, Representation Agreements and Living Wills are important “life planning” documents, and should form part of your overall Estate Plan.  They ensure that you will maintain control over your future financial, legal and health care related matters, and they greatly assist (and relieve) your loved ones in attending to these matters in otherwise difficult situations.

For more information in respect to these life planning considerations, please contact Curtis Darmohray at 250-869-1125 or Darmohray@pushormitchell.com