Think twice before choosing an enduring power of attorney

Dear Editor:

This is a message for any person, especially the elderly, who are considering choosing an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) and/or a Personal Director (PD) to assist you with your personal affairs, should you become unable to look after them on your own.

People need to be aware that choosing the wrong EPA and/or PD can put them in a situation that may leave them incapacitated forever. Don’t allow yourself to become a victim by placing your trust into someone whom you befriend because it could haunt you for the rest of your life. Once these powers are activated your EPA and PD has the right to make all your decisions even if you do not agree. Designating an immoral person for an EPA and PD can establish a life sentence of hell if you are not aware of all your limitations.

The question arises. Is it justifiable having an EPA and PD in place at all? Having an up to date Will is substantially more important for estate planning. Choose someone who has known you for some time. For example, a family member is usually a good choice since they will respect your wishes and take them to heart. Try not to choose a public figure like a banker, lawyer, or an accountant. They are usually more concerned with their own interests verses your interests.

Another point that needs to be made aware is that it is the doctors who write the Letter of Competence. Thus activating or deactivating the EPA and PD’s powers. With some physicians incorrectly diagnosing, numerous people’s health have failed. Unaware of what is happening, these people may be taking the wrong medications and/or drug overdosing resulting in muscle deterioration, blindness, strokes and even heart failure. People need to be getting second and third opinions to avoid this situation.

If the PD does not follow up on what the doctor prescribes, you could be a victim of incapacity very quickly. Once your capacity level is determined by your doctor, who may have over medicated you, there is no recourse. You are stuck with his decision and you no longer have the liberty to decide for yourself. You have just given your powers away forever and are at the mercy of your doctor’s decision.

As of 2011, there are no inexpensive ways to police, replace or eradicate the obligations of the Enduring Power of Attorney or Personal Director if they are uncooperative with the family.

Bernardette Haustein

Erskine AB