power of attorney

Mary's Story

When working with my clients there are a number of scenarios I commonly see regarding Powers of Attorney. Mary is a good example...

Mary is married to James and has two kids, Elizabeth in college and David in middle school. Mary’s father has passed but her mother and James' parent are still alive.

Mary is the primary caregiver for her mother, Susan, who now lives alone. Mary tries to visit Susan as often as she can and also occasionally drives her to various appointments and helps her with her shopping.

Elizabeth attends college out-of-town, and while the family tries to squeeze in regular visits to school for events like parent’s weekend and homecoming, they normally stay in touch through text and Elizabeth will call when she has a problem.

Mary's son, David, is active in school and club sports and school clubs and Mary spends a lot of time driving him to and attending practices and events.

Mary and James occasionally are able to get away for long weekends by themselves but haven't had a real vacation alone in some time.

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The Problem:

Mary is starting to see her girlfriends having to become much more involved in the care of their parents and sees the emotional (and financial) strain that it can cause, both to her friend and the parent

Mary doesn’t know the details of her mother’s financial accounts and savings and is afraid that her mother’s health issues are becoming more significant. Mary is especially concerned that her brother (who lives out-of-town) doesn’t seem to have the same concerns and is not willing to help her with caring for Susan.

Mary is anxious about her and James’ health as they get older because they can’t seem find the time to exercise, eat right and get enough sleep

Mary is not sure how their kids would be taken care of, the bills would be paid, and financial decisions would made if one or both of them were to be in an accident or had a medical emergency

During parent orientation at the college, Mary learned about her right to access Elizabeth’s college records under FERPA but Mary doesn’t understand how she could assist if Elizabeth needed help with her financial affairs, or worse, if Elizabeth were to have a medical emergency while away from home

Mary is not sure how David would be taken care of if he were to have a medical emergency while staying with James’ parents while they were on vacation out-of-town

The Solution:

Mary contacted me to see what she needed to do to help her mother and make sure her and James had a plan for themselves and the kids

We started with a brief phone call with her and James to talk about their concerns and explain my process

After Mary completed my online questionnaire, we met to discuss their situation and come up with a plan

I explained the purpose of a power of attorney and the differences between a financial (durable) and health care power of attorney and an immediate and springing power of attorney

Mary and James learned how a durable power of attorney would allow Mary to help Susan and Elizabeth with paying their bills and managing their financial accounts, allow Mary to act for James if he was unavailable or had a medical emergency, and how a power of attorney for the care and custody of David would allow James’ parents to act as his temporary guardian while Mary and James were on vacation

In addition, Mary and James decided to use a Will to name James’ parents as David’s guardians and a revocable trust to protect their inheritance for the benefit of Elizabeth and David

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I look forward to working with you so that you can stop worrying about leaving your loved ones unprepared for one of the most emotional and stressful times in life.

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