One of my dearest clients is in the hospital. She took a nasty tumble a few weeks ago and broke her leg. She was in rehab, then a nursing home and seemed to be doing well. Then she was admitted to the hospital twice within 3 days. She's still there, sometimes with it, sometimes not, the doctors aren't quite sure what's wrong yet, and her friend and health care proxy needs to know what's going on. She couldn't find her copy of the health care proxy and the doctors wouldn't speak to her. I brought her a copy from my files, and she was able to find out what was going on. She now carries the Health Care Proxy in her purse.
And there are decisions to be made - not life or death ones, yet, but important ones nonetheless. Decisions such as "should we hold the bed at the nursing home at a private pay rate of $350/day, or let it go?" And there are things to be done, like writing checks to pay bills. As the Agent appointed under my client's Durable Power of Attorney, her friend is able to make these decisions and get these things done.
People often don't realize that a tumble or other unfortunate event can take place at any time, and that medical situations can change quickly and without warning. If my client had not executed these documents, we'd be running to the Court House instead of the Hospital, and her money would be being spent on legal fees rather than her health care.
As my client's friend and I left the hospital yesterday, she turned to me and said "Now I know you really do need a Health Care Proxy and Durable Power of Attorney! If anyone asks me, I'm going to tell them!"
If you need a Health Care Proxy, Power of Attorney of other estate planning documents, please call me at 781-749-2284.