Powers of Attorney and Chronic Illness

Powers of Attorney and Chronic Illness

By: Martin M. Shenkman, CPA, MBA, JD

If you have a chronic illness that could result in unexpected short term hospital stays potentially several times a year, consider a second power of attorney. This might be appropriate for someone with ulcerative colitis, or multiple sclerosis, which triggers exacerbations. Consider a limited power of attorney, effective immediately, with no springing provision. A springing provision only permits your agent to act if you are disabled. This will undermine the agent's ability to act quickly in repeated hospitalizations or attacks. A limited power restricts the agent's rights to those matters that might need addressing during a short term hospitalization or exacerbation. No power should be given to make gifts, change beneficiary designations, etc. By signing one, you will ensure that you basic financial responsibilities will be taken care of, such as monthly bill paying, but no major financial decisions will be made.

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