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For SeniorsThe importance of advanced decision making.All of us know people who have had a sudden stroke, become ill with dementia or another debilitat- ing disease, or just has gotten “tooold” and unable to make sound deci- sions any longer. Quite often these people may need care. They also need people to help make decisions for them, whether they be medical or fi- nancial decisions. If they have already been deemed incompetent, the family member may have to go to court to be appointed the Guardian (someone who can make medical and placement de- cisions) or Conservator (someone who can handle your finances and assets) for them. However, this can be avoided if you take the time to appoint someone to make these decisions for you whileStacey LottAttorney at LawEstate Planning & Elder Lawyou are still competent and able to pick the person you think would make the best decision for you when you can no longer decide for yourself.behalf. Both Financial and Medical Powers of Attorney can be durable. Alternately, if you need someone to take care of some type of business for you, for instance attend a real es- tate closing for you and sign the doc- uments when you are out of town, etc., you can have a Limited Power of Attorney that is not durable and is just for that one specific purpose.The second type of Power of At- torney is a Power of Attorney for Health Care. These are often called Living Wills, Medical Powers of Attorney, or Advance Directives. In Michigan we call them Patient Ad- vocate Designations. This document allows you to name the person who can stand in your shoes and make a medical or placement decision for you if you are unable to make it for yourself. This person will also be able to get information about your medical condition so that he or she can make an informed decision. Two doctors are required to certify that you are incompetent before your patient advocate can begin making decisions. It is so important that you pick the person who will be able to follow your wishes, because if you choose the wrong person, there is nothing you can do to be sure your wishes are followed when you are already incapacitated.As you can see, there are many dif- ferent kinds of powers of attorney, but, in general, most people feel that they are extremely important. Having a Du- rable Power of Attorney for finances and a Medical Power of Attorney are great ways to prepare so you can avoid having to go to court if you become incapacitated and so your family will have the authority to take care of you when you need them.Stacey Lott Attorney at Law practices in the areas of Elder Law and Estate Planning and can be reached at 130 E. Columbia Ave., Battle Creek, MI 49015,(269) 963-8222, are two types of documents that are imperative when you are talking about surrogate decision-mak- ing in Michigan. They are Powers of Attorney for Finances and Health Care Powers of Attorney or Patient Advo- cate Designations.Financial Powers of Attorney can be “durable” or “limited.” A Dura- ble Power of Attorney is “durable” because it is still valid after some- one becomes incompetent. So, if you are totally aware of what you are doing when you make the pow- er of attorney, but then the next day you get into a car accident and are unconscious, your power of attorney is still valid and the person that you picked as your agent can act on your• LongTermCareLegal Advice/Counseling• AssetProtection• Advice for Financial / Medical Condition• Medicaid & Veterans Benefits• Wills• LivingWills• Trusts• Pre/Post Nuptial Agreements• Planning for Non Traditional Familes269.963.8222130 East Columbia Avenue | Battle Creek, MI 49015 www.staceylottlaw.com18 SCENE 4405 I CELEBRATING SENIORSBY STACEY LOTT, Attorney at Law

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