Case Study: Powers of Attorney and Advance Medical Directives

What could happen if you don’t have powers of attorney and advance medical directives:

A husband and wife in their early 50’s have 3 children but have no wills, durable powers of attorney or advance medical directives. The wife is involved in an automobile accident, her injuries are aggravated by improper care at a local hospital, and she is left in a vegetative state in a nursing home. Her husband must deal not only with the tremendous grief surrounding his wife’s condition, but now must file a guardianship action in Court seeking to become his wife’s guardian so that he has legal authority to make financial and medical decisions on his wife’s behalf.

Guardianship applications typically cost several thousands of dollars and take approximately three months to proceed from start to finish in the courts. Though the husband had consulted with an attorney in connection with filing for guardianship, he made no progress on the guardianship issue until he consulted with Timothy Rice as the original attorney was not sufficiently experienced or knowledgeable about guardianship laws. Mr. Rice obtained the required medical and legal proofs to file for guardianship and also assisted the husband with a Medicaid application to seek Medicaid coverage for his wife’s very expensive nursing home care. The wife’s Medicaid eligibility was delayed because the husband did not have legal authority to liquidate assets owned solely by his wife. If this couple has executed Durable Powers of Attorney and Advance Medical Directives, the guardianship application would have been avoided, the Medicaid application would have been expedited, and the husband’s emotional & financial burden would had been reduced.

advance medical directive, durable power of attorney, guardianship, Medicaid, Wills

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