To plan for the future early enough is a good thing, and as a precautionary measure, I have a Will, Durable Power of Attorney as well as Power of Attorney for Health Care. The paragraphs below will elaborate on general Will, Durable Power of Attorney, and Power of Attorney for Health Care. Besides, the importance of planning ahead and the challenges that the family faces when one fails to plan are discussed.
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Will is a unique legal document that specifies who will own or rather manage the estate or property of the “testator” when he or she dies.
Writing a Will is not an easy thing for most people. A survey conducted by NSW Trustee and Guardian in the United States showed that two out of five Americans do not have a Will. Experts warn that if the testator fails to compile a Will, the estate will be divided according to government formulas. The case of Terri Schiavo is an example of the burden the lack of Will puts on the family of the testator.
Terri’s husband and parents engaged in a conflict concerning her life support. The negotiations and endless trails took the family years to come to the final solution. This happened because Terri’s husband insisted that there was no point in maintaining her vegetative state, while her parents confronted the diagnosis and insisted on the continuation of Terri’s life support.
Power of Attorney is a particular right the ‘Principal’ grants an ‘Agent’ or ‘Attorney-in-Fact.’ The Agent is required by legal authority, to make decisions for the Principal in case of their incapacitation. Principals should be very careful when choosing Agents because the “actions” of the Attorney-in-Fact will be deemed legally as those of the Principal. Unfortunately, the legal framework and court system do not have any regulatory mechanism over the Power of Attorney.
As it happened in the case of Terri Schiavo, in 1998, a right-to-die litigator, filed a petition to withdraw life support as her husband wanted. The court detracted the report of the guardian ad litem in favor of Michael’s interests.
Power of Attorney for Health Care requires the Principal to appoint a surrogate who will act as a trusted healthcare agent. All the health preferences of the Principal are set out in this document. Since illnesses and death are inevitable, this is a necessary measure. This way, experts warn that selecting the right person as a surrogate is highly important. In Terri Schiavo’s situation, the decision about her health lay in the hands of her husband and parents just because she never communicated her desires considering her properties and capital as well as her life support. Terri ignored these actions even though he had been ill for years.
Planning is an essential way of living for a responsible human being. Planning is important when it comes to health risk and opportunity assessment. Terri Schiavo’s case is an ugly scenario where the testator failed to write a Will in time. Failure to compile a Will creates a huge pressure on the family members after that the family may start court battles and exhausting arguments, which are very expensive and nerve-racking.
It is essential for parents to embrace the concept of family planning. Property and capital owners of all ages are encouraged to acquire a Will and Durable Power of Attorney. Besides, taking the burden of making a hard decision in tragic situations off the shoulders of one’s relatives is a good demonstration of care and love towards one’s family members.