Ms. Mejía has more than 23 years’ experience in working with families and dealing with clients’ health care and financial issues. Life takes twists and turns and, more often than not, happens in ways we don’t expect. When an individual cannot make sound decisions concerning his or her personal or financial affairs, a fiduciary steps in to act on behalf of that individual. That fiduciary is an Attorney-in-Fact, a Conservator, or a Trustee, as explained below, and Ms. Mejía is prepared to serve in any or all of those capacities.
There are two (2) types of Powers of Attorney, one for Health Care called Advance Health Care Directive, and one for Financial Matters called Power of Attorney for Asset Management. The person executing a Power of Attorney is the “Principal,” and the person nominated to act on behalf of the Principal is the “Attorney-in-Fact.” In both situations, the designated Attorney-in-Fact is obligated to act in and for the best interest of the Principal and no one else, unless others are identified in the Principal’s document as recipients of benefits as well.
Advance Health Care Directives indicate a Principal’s choices for where he or she receives care when ill or incompetent, what manner of care the Principal desires to receive, how that care is authorized to be given, and who has the authority to carry out that care plan, make decisions as necessary, and receive access to medical records for making the best decisions with the input of attending health care providers. The form Advance Health Care Directive can be acquired from a local hospital or from a trusted attorney of one’s choosing. It is revocable and can be changed at any time, if the Principal is competent. It will identify who, in a line of succession, is the Principal’s choice to make decisions for him or her regarding personal health care, including whether and which retirement facility the Principal desires to be placed, or whether the Principal wishes to remain at home for all health care, whether and what visitors and readings and music the Principal wishes to have while going through the dying process, or whether the Principal prefers to be left alone, and whether and what plans the Principal has made for disposition of his or her remains by burial or cremation, for services or memorials, and who the Principal wants to be in charge of those decisions at the end. Mortuaries generally ask for the Advance Health Care Directive before any other document, to ensure they are dealing with the person chosen by the Principal to take charge.
Powers of Attorney for Asset Management indicate who has authority to carry on financial matters when an individual cannot make business or investment decisions without assistance. With age, most individuals reach a point where they need help to filter the transactions that face them in their finances. Naming an Attorney-in-Fact to serve in that capacity ensures a smooth transition during that time of the Principal’s life. Authority is granted for managing bank and brokerage accounts, real estate holdings, credit card obligations, tax preparation and filings, responsibility for paying the Principal’s contracts and admissions to health care institutions when necessary, and many other incidents that may arise when someone needs to act on behalf of the Principal. The form Power of Attorney for Asset Management can be acquired from a stationery store or from a trusted attorney of one’s choosing. The Power of Attorney is revocable at any time, if the Principal is competent. A Durable Power of Attorney remains effective even after the Principal becomes incompetent. All matters are conducted for the benefit of the Principal, and the Attorney-in-Fact acknowledges on acceptance that he or she will be liable for misdeeds and acts motivated by self-interest, which may lead to litigation.
Ms. Mejía is available to serve as Attorney-in-Fact for anyone who does not have capable or geographically close family members or who do not have anyone in their lives they can trust to carry out their wishes. She is familiar with the processes, both legal and medical, and as an independent person, can follow through as directed by the signed Power of Attorney documents to ensure the Principal’s wishes are honored and achieved. She can pull family members together who have historical issues between them, and she can sort through the myriad of tasks necessary to bring peace and calm to an otherwise difficult situation.
Without Powers of Attorney, the Principal may need to be conserved by a court, and if that is the case, the individual Attorney-in-Fact chosen by the Principal when he or she was competent becomes the Conservator who reports to the court for all financial transactions on a regular basis. Ms. Mejía has served as Conservator and Attorney for Conservators, and she knows the in’s and out’s of the court proceedings. Naming her as Attorney-in-Fact, knowing that if a Conservator is needed, she is also able to fill that responsibility, is a huge benefit, not only to the Principal, but also to the family of the Principal and those having an interest in the Principal.
Most individuals today have Revocable Living Trusts. The individuals who set them up, the Trustors, generally also serve as the individuals who manage the financial matters, the Trustees. They often name their spouses or children as Successor Trustees in the event they can no longer serve as Trustee, to make major decisions in their financial affairs. Ms. Mejía has drafted Trusts, executed Trusts, and guided over a thousand individuals in the operation of Revocable Trusts. Revocable Trusts, like Powers of Attorney, can be changed by the Trustors when they are competent. Trustors can easily and economically make new choices for Successor Trustees by amending the Trust. Naming Ms. Mejía as Successor Trustee brings an element of professional expertise to the Trustor’s plan for execution of the Trust and lends experience, independence, and trustworthiness, when that time arises.
Contact Ms. Mejía if you wish to discuss the possibility of her serving as your Attorney-in-Fact under either or both of the Power of Attorney documents outlined above, including your Conservator should that become necessary, and as Trustee of your Revocable Living Trust.
Rest with confidence that your final wishes will be carefully honored and the integrity of your legacy will be highly respected.