Power of Attorney

Importance

Not having proper power of attorney documents can lead to uncertainties and potential conflicts when it comes to decision-making for individuals with dementia. These documents allow the person with dementia (known as the principal) to appoint a trusted individual (the attorney-in-fact or agent) to handle financial and other decisions on their behalf.

It is important to carefully select the agent and have thorough discussions about the responsibilities involved. Successor agents should also be named in case the original agent is unavailable. The power of attorney should be durable, remaining valid even after incapacity.

The person with dementia retains decision-making rights as long as they have legal capacity, and the agent’s authority comes into effect only when the person loses legal capacity. The agent’s role is to manage the principal’s income and assets in accordance with their wishes and best interests.

Understanding Local Laws:

Couples who are not in legally recognized relationships face potential limitations in decision-making and accessing health information about their partner’s well-being if appropriate legal documents are not in place. It is crucial to be aware of the specific laws and regulations in your state to ensure you are prepared and protected.

Power of attorney for healthcare

A power of attorney for health care, also known as an advance directive, enables individuals with dementia to appoint a health care agent. This agent is authorized to make the following decisions:

  • Doctors and other health care providers.
  • Types of treatments.
  • Care settings.

In late-stage dementia, end-of-life choices like nutrition and do-not-resuscitate instructions. Early, open conversations about end-of-life plans can help prevent family disagreements and distress.