Powers of Attorney and Health Care Directives

The Value of a Durable Power of Attorney

A durable Power of Attorney document is an excellent planning device for almost everyone. It is particularly useful for individuals who are concerned about their physical and mental health and well-being, now and in the future. Without a power of attorney, there is nobody that is automatically granted the authority to make decisions on your behalf. A spouse cannot make decisions on behalf of the other spouse, a parent cannot make decisions on behalf of his or her adult children, and a child cannot make decisions on behalf of his or her elderly parents.

Why Have a Durable Power of Attorney?

Should you become incapacitated in the future, a power of attorney avoids the need for those persons who care about you to institute a guardianship or conservator proceeding (see our guardianship page for a more detailed discussion about guardianships in NJ, click here), saving you thousands and thousands of dollars in unnecessary guardianship expenses should you become incapacitated. This is because a Power of Attorney document appoints who your legal representative is and what authority he or she will have to make decisions concerning your financial, personal, medical and quality of life. It is often a person’s most important legal document.

If you already have a power of attorney, there are some considerations you must consider to ensure your document is valid and continues to reflect your wishes should something happen to you. The first thing you should check is the date you signed this document. If the document is more than 10 years old, banks in New Jersey are not required to accept it. We recommend that your general durable power of attorney be updated or reviewed every 5 or so years, or whenever there is a major change in your life circumstances (i.e. divorce, death, relocation, etc.) You should also ensure that your named attorney(s)-in-fact and any successors have current addresses on the form and update it if not.

A DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY IN NEW JERSEY CAN GREATLY ASSIST IN ASSET PROTECTION PLANNING AND LIFE CARE PLANNING

There are also some specific provisions that we recommend putting into a power of attorney document. First off, it should contain a clause granting your attorney(s)-in-fact the power to engage in Medicaid and estate tax planning and/or gifting. Many persons what the ability to engage in asset protection planning to shelter assets from the cost of nursing home care and death taxes. It also should contain a clause referencing the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”) to avoid any inability of a health care representative to received Medicaid information in the event of a medical emergency. The HIPAA privacy rules have created a new category of private information called “Protected Health Information” (PHI) or “Protected Medical Information” (PMI). In order to avoid any issues about the persons to whom your health care provider may divulge your PHI, you should specifically state who has the right to receive your PHI.

If you have questions about Power of Attorneys, conservatorship, trusts or elder law in New Jersey, contact Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. toll-free at 855-376-5291 or e-mail him at fniemann@hnlawfirm.com . Set up an office consultation at your convenience. He is easy to talk to and will answer your questions in plain, simple English.

What You Will Learn About Powers of Attorney by Reading This Page

In the discussion that follows, the major highlights and benefits of a Durable Power of Attorney (DPA) or (POA) are explained from an experienced Power of Attorney lawyer in New Jersey. The discussion is not intended to be exhaustive, and legal counseling may be necessary for persons interested in signing such a document. Why? Because a Power of Attorney is a powerful legal tool!

A POWER OF ATTORNEY IN NEW JERSEY AT A GLANCE

  • A POA is often a person’s most important legal document.
  • It avoids the need for a guardianship proceeding in Court and the state’s intrusion in your life.
  • A Power of Attorney can save you nearly $7,000 of unnecessary guardianship expenses should you become incapacitated.
  • You get to choose your legal representative as your Power of Attorney to make decisions in your best interests, not a judge.
  • A well written Power of Attorney addresses those financial, personal, medical and quality of life decisions and authority you want your representative to have.
  • Did you know that in NJ, a spouse has no legal authority to make decisions for their spouse if they become sick or injured without a Power of Attorney?
  • Did you know that a parent or adult child has no legal decision making authority over their adult children or aging parent without a Power of Attorney?
  • Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq., a 30+ year experienced NJ elder care and elder law lawyer, says “you absolutely must have a Power of Attorney. Don’t delay.”

CHECKLIST TO CONSIDER IF YOU NEED A NEW OR REVISED POWER OF ATTORNEY 

  • Is your General Durable Power of Attorney more than 10 years old? If so, banks in New Jersey are not required to accept it. We recommend that your General Durable power of Attorney and Living Will be updated or reviewed every 5 or so years.
  • Does your General Durable Power of Attorney continue to name the appropriate representative for you? You can name one or more attorney(s)-in-fact to act in your place with reference to your financial matters if you are unable to do so. You should verify that your named attorney(s)-in-fact and any successors have current addresses.
  • Does your General Durable Power of Attorney allow for Medicaid and estate tax planning or gifting? Many persons want the ability to engage in asset protection planning to shelter assets from the cost of nursing home care and death taxes. Your General Durable Power of Attorney should specifically grant your attorney(s)-in-fact the power to engage in this type of planning. We are recommending to all or our clients that they update their General Durable Power of Attorney if it does not specifically authorize this type of asset and income protection planning in the future.
  • Does your Health Care Power of Attorney reference the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”)? The HIPAA privacy rules have created a new category of private information called “Protected Health Information” (PHI) or “Protected Medical Information” (PMI). In order to avoid any issues about the persons to whom your health care provider may divulge your PHI, you should specifically state who has the right to receive your PHI. We are recommending to all our clients that they update their Health Care Powers of Attorney to include a HIPAA provision to avoid any inability of a Health Care Representative to receive information in the event of medical emergency.

Fredrick P. Niemann Esq.

If you have questions about Power of Attorneys, conservatorship, trusts or elder law in New Jersey,

Contact Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. toll-free at

855-376-5291

or e-mail him at

fniemann@hnlawfirm.com

Set up an office consultation at your convenience. He is easy to talk to and will answer your questions in plain, simple English.

TESTIMONIALS

My husband and I were together for almost twenty (20) years. We met with Mr. Niemann to have our Wills, Powers of Attorneys and Healthcare Directives prepared. Mr. Niemann was insistent that we have a Comprehensive Power of Attorney, Healthcare Directive and Living Will to protect us if either one of us became sick. Recently, my husband passed after a sudden illness. Thank Goodness for the Healthcare Directive and Power of Attorney prepared by Mr. Niemann. I submitted the documents to the attending physician who promised to honor their terms and purposes. It saved me from possible anguish in case there was a disagreement as to whether life support should or should not be continued. I now better understand the benefit to having a Power of Attorney and Healthcare Directive and am appreciative of Mr. Niemann’s advice concerning the importance of these documents.

I have agreed to sponsor this testimonial because I know firsthand the importance of having a Power of Attorney and Healthcare Directive when faced with an unexpected personal or family emergency.

-Donna Foster, Manalapan, NJ

TESTIMONIALS

My son is an attorney in New Jersey. I am retired and live in Ocean County, New Jersey about 45 minutes away from my son. I needed a lawyer to look at my estate planning documents including Will, Power of Attorney and Health Care Directive. My son recommended Hanlon Niemann in Freehold, New Jersey, specifically Fredrick P. Niemann. I took his advice and met with Mr. Niemann. I am glad that I did. He is a warm and engaging person. No pretense, no airs about him. I immediately felt at ease and we talked about everything that I wanted to do and accomplish with my estate planning. I felt I could open up to him and tell him what was really important to me. He prepared the documents as we discussed and sent them to me in advance to review and approve. Then he scheduled me for a signature session where my appointment was promptly kept and a friendly, positive staff witnessed all my documents. My son, the attorney, gave me good advice when he recommended Mr. Niemann.

If you are searching for a special attorney, someone who is experienced, likeable as a person and professional, call Mr. Niemann. I felt good about my choice.

-Frank Mollo, Manchester, NJ

Recent Speaking Events by Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq.
You Can View Fred’s Current Schedule by Clicking Here

Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. was invited by the Office of Elder Rights and Adult Protective Services of the Department of Health and Senior Services, Division of Aging and Community Services, to make comments on existing Adult Protective Services Programs on August 25, 2010 at the State Capitol located in Trenton, New Jersey.

On March 6th, Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. addressed the Monmouth County NJ Bar Association Family Law Committee on Special Needs Trusts, Supplemental Needs Trusts for adult and minor incapacitated children and aged parents and their use in asset planning and eligibility for government benefit programs, including Medicaid, SSI and SSD.

 

Written by New Jersey Power of Attorney Lawyer Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of the Hanlon Niemann Law Firm in New Jersey

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HNW Elder Law Practice Areas | Power of Attorney