SIMPLE TOOLS TO PROTECT YOUR BUSINESS AND PERSONAL INTERESTS-
John was in a serious car accident while driving home from work two months ago. He was rushed to the nearest hospital where he remains heavily sedated while recovering from his injuries. John’s wife, Kim, would like him transferred to a better quality hospital. She does not have the legal authority to demand a transfer.
John owns a small public relations firm which consists of himself, a junior associate and a secretary. While John has been incapacitated, nobody has the power to make business decisions, or to sign checks to pay the office rent, the phone bill, the car lease, or his staff’s salary.
Jon always paid the household bills from his personal account. His wife, Kim does not have the power to sign checks from that account. She does not have enough money in her account to pay the mortgage.
While John is incapacitated he is in danger of losing his business, his house and his car. He is in danger of having his credit ruined.
Like many parents he knew it was important to execute a will to ease the process on his wife and children in the event he died. However, John didn’t know about other important tools.
What tools could have protected John’s personal and business interests during his incapacitation?
A POWER OF ATTORNEY: This legal device allows your designated agent to conduct your business and personal affairs, including: real estate deals, banking, stocks, business operations, insurance claims & litigation, taxes, etc.
A power of attorney can be used by your agent while you are healthy & while you are not. Examples include: if you are unconscious; or not in a clear state of mind; or just in ill health; or if you are out of town; etc.
A power of attorney can be limited to a specific transaction (ie: just to attend my real estate closing and sign the papers on my behalf). It can be in effect while you are healthy or while you are incapacitated. There are springing powers of attorney which only come into existence upon the happening of a specified event (could be your 50th birthday or your being declared incompetent by a doctor).
The power of attorney can be revoked by you at any time. This must be done in writing.
If you don’t have a power of attorney and you become incompetent your spouse/family will have to apply for a guardianship hearing to have somebody appointed by the court to manage your affairs. This is very time consuming and costly. During this time period, your personal and business affairs will remain unattended.
What tool would have allowed Kim to transfer John to a better hospital?
A HEALTH CARE PROXY
This tool is entirely separate from a power of attorney and can’t be included on a power of attorney. This is also a different concept from a “living will” which basically gives your agent the power to have all life saving devices turned off. With a Health Care Proxy you appoint an agent (ie: spouse/family member) to make health care decisions for you when you are deemed incompetent. Generally a doctor will make the determination that you are incompetent to make your own health care decisions. The decisions your health care proxy may make on your behalf could range from electing to agree to attempt a risky surgery to choosing a hospital, etc.
You work hard to reach your goals in life. Make sure to protect the fruits of your labor. Powers of Attorney and Health Care Proxies are documents your attorney can prepare for a small legal fee.
IT IS STRONGLY RECOMENED YOU CONSULT WITH YOUR ATTORNEY BEFORE EXECUTING ANY OF THESE DOCUMENTS AS YOUR NEEDS MAY REQUIRE SPECIFIC TAILORING.
Call Larry Hoffman now at (516) 216-4353 or 1-800-260-0419 or 718-766-7985 or
or e-mail LHoffman@LarrytheLawyer.net to discuss your legal case for free