January 14, 2018 No one likes thinking about death, but unless some decisions are made before that time, emotion could get in the way of what you want to happen. Even worse, the state or a strange doctor could make important decisions instead of your family. Some of the documents we offer have immediate benefits as well. Many older people travel frequently and do not want to be burdened with day-to-day financial matters, while other people need some assistance in these matters but want to retain ultimate control. Power of Attorney in Washington This document, which is not strictly speaking an “end of life” instrument, creates a principal-agent relationship. The person who makes the document is the principal, and the attorney-in-fact is the agent. The bond between the two is one of the most special ones that the law recognizes. The relationship works best when there is already a high degree of trust between principal and agent, and the principal just needs someone on hand to make quick decisions. For example, a house closing might drag on longer than expected, and the principal will appoint an attorney-in-fact to handle the matter so prepaid vacation plans aren’t interrupted. A power of attorney can delegate a wide range of powers, or only one or two. Some powers of attorney take effect immediately while others either commence or terminate under a designated set of circumstances. In any event, the powers this document grants are very broad, so only an experienced attorney should draft and execute one. Renton Health Care Directives End-of-life decisions are often difficult to make. A health care directive, which is sometimes incorrectly called a “living will,” is also known as a Directive to Physicians. Once again, these documents are very nice for people who travel frequently and are often away from nearby family or doctors that they know well. It’s usually a good idea to keep the original health care directive in a safe place, like a bank box, and keep a copy very close by. Health Care Powers of Attorney in Kent These documents essentially combine the features of the previous two. Sometimes, people are too ill or injured to give informed consent for certain necessary procedures, and doctors will not perform such procedures without express permission from their patients. A health care POA designates an attorney-in-fact to make such decisions, giving the principal additional peace of mind that doctors will only act in accordance with the principal’s wishes. Rely On an Experienced Attorney The time to start thinking about the legal aspects of late-in-life decisions is now. For a confidential consultation with an experienced estate planning attorney in Renton, contact the Law Offices of Dan Kellogg. After-hours appointments are available.