Will You End Up Like Terri Schiavo?

Who will make the tough decisions for you when you no longer can?

I want to look at the difference between a power of attorney and a guardianship.

How do those affect you?

In the case that you or a loved one become incapacitated and can no longer make decisions on your own, this can effect you very deeply.

Let me explain.

Powers of attorney for health care and property/financial decisions are relatively low cost way to decide which family member or trusted friend will have the legal authority to carry out your wishes, if you can no longer speak or act for yourself.

Terri Schiavo’s name was splashed across headlines for years for exactly this reason.

Terri didn’t have a power of attorney designating who she wanted to make healthcare decisions for her in the event she wasn’t able to make them herself.

Her parents and husband waged war through years of legal battles… not to mention heartbreak, tears, and hard feelings.

While this is not as common for a young person (which is why Terri was prevalent in the papers), it is often the case that as we age, one obstruction or another keeps us from making decisions for ourselves.  Alzheimer’s is one such obstruction.

I have seen families torn to shreds over the healthcare decisions of a loved one.

Don’t let your family be destroyed because you simply didn’t make your wishes known, or appoint someone to make those tough decisions for you.

If you do not have power of attorney, or if your powers of attorney are not drafted properly and something happens that results in your inability to make decisions, your loved ones may later face costly court proceedings and court-supervised guardianship.

A court proceeding is not only expensive, but the person appointed as your guardian may not be the person whom you would have chosen yourself.

Here’s what you must know: too many people are forced into a situation where a complete stranger is making life and death decisions on their behalf.

Sometimes those decisions are what the person would have wanted, and other times, though the guardian tries, decisions are made that are completely the opposite.

Would you want that for your loved one?

If not, then a power of attorney might be right for you.

To find out more about powers of attorney and guardianships, open your “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Alzheimer’s But Were Afraid to Ask - Answers to Over 92 of the Most Frequently Asked Questions at the Alzheimer’s Resource Center” booklets and read items 95 to 96.

Don’t let your healthcare wishes be a mystery to your loved ones.  Make them known.

If you have not signed up for the Alzheimer’s Resource Center, it is easy, informative and free. Just go to type in your name and email address and you will have instant access to all of the materials to read online or to download and print.  You can also go to or give us a call at 1-800-939-9093 and we will sign you up right over the phone without any obligation what so ever.

Barron Law Firm

Texas Elder Care Attorney

Richard M. Barron

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