Older & Wiser

Health Care Directives for Seniors

In our February 2019 column we asked, “Are you drafting Powers of Attorney for financial decisions with language that is different for seniors than the ones you draft for younger clients?” Now we’re asking you the same question regarding Health Care Directives. In the hope that people will use some type of substituted decision-making authority for medical decisions, Tennessee now recognizes seven different ways that this can be done. Drafting a document that is tailored to your client, and that will be accepted by health care providers, will hopefully result in the most appropriate care for that client.

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Powers of Attorney for Seniors Are Different

Meet the Journal’s new elder law columnists! This column replaces “Senior Moments,” by Monica J. Franklin, which was published here from 2009 to 2018.

Are you drafting Powers of Attorney for financial decisions with language that is different for seniors than the ones you draft for younger clients? Or, are you referencing the powers enumerated in Tenn. Code Ann. §34-6-109 and relying on those provisions to create a complete document? Perhaps you’ve created a form over the years that you believe works for any adult. The world of finances, government assistance benefits and medical care can change dramatically once people enter their senior years. In fact, the authority given in Tenn. Code Ann. §34-6-109, sections (6) (supporting others) and (15) (paying club dues), may actually work against your senior client if the possibility of applying for means-tested benefits is on the horizon.

It is extremely important that Powers of Attorney are written to address the issues often faced by seniors. Following are typical provisions for dealing with specific issues.

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