The reason why it is advisable for people to execute powers of attorney is so that representatives of their choosing will be in place should a time when they cannot make sound decisions for themselves. Obviously this is relevant in an elder law context, and if you’re one of those people who feels as though “it can’t happen to me” a quick review of the statistics would be in order.
Alzheimer’s disease is an enormous health issue among senior citizens, and though we have all heard of it most people are not aware of how ubiquitous it actually is. One out of every eight people you have reached the age of 65 has Alzheimer’s disease, and approximately 40% of those 85 years of age and over are Alzheimer’s sufferers. Alzheimer’s causes dementia, and of course among other things dementia can render one unable to make sound medical and financial decisions.
Alzheimer’s disease due to aging is just one of the ways that people become incapable of making decisions for themselves, so when you consider the facts you can see why it is important to have powers of attorney in place.
Men and women who are legally married enjoy certain protections provided by law, but of course same-sex couples are not in the same position. So if you do not have powers of attorney in place your next of kin would be legally responsible for decision-making in your behalf in the event of your incapacitation and your partner could potentially be shut out of the process depending on his or her relationship with your family.
Even if you were to be legally married in a state that recognizes same-sex unions the laws are changing all the time and the state within which you are residing may not recognize the marriage as being valid. The best way to protect yourself is to consult with an experienced New Jersey estate planning attorney to make sure that the proper powers of attorney are in place so that you can be certain that your wishes are honored come what may.