Power of Attorney and Living Will

There are two types of documents that can make end-of-life decisions easier for you and your loved ones: the power of attorney and the living will. When you create these documents, you will have the peace of mind that your end-of-life care will be carried out as closely as possible to what you wish. You can also be confident that your loved ones won’t be stuck making tough decisions that could divide them just when they need each other most.

Power of Attorney and Living Will

Living Will in Utah

A living will doesn’t actually do anything that most people commonly associate with wills, like distribute property. Instead, a living will lets those around you know what kind of care you do, or do not, want to have in the event that you are unable to communicate your wishes because of a debilitating injury or illness.

Your living will can be very specific or very general. You can spell out exactly what kind of procedures you want or don’t want, or you can make a general pronouncement and leave it up to those around you to determine how to proceed.

If you elect to go with the general approach, it is particularly important to craft a power of attorney. Even if you attempt in your living will to spell out what you want in every conceivable circumstance, however, you should still have a power of attorney in place. No one can predict every eventuality, so it is important to have someone you trust in place to make the hard choices you didn’t foresee.

Power of Attorney for Healthcare

With what is known as a durable power of attorney for health care, you can designate an agent that will make decisions that weren’t covered by your living will. It is important to note that your health care agent can’t overrule any of the provisions of your living will. Your agent can only supplement your wishes if something comes up that you didn’t anticipate in your living will.

If you have already designated a power of attorney for financial decisions, keep in mind that conflict can arise between your financial and health agents. It’s best to choose individuals that you know can work together and who have your best interests at heart.

Drafting a Advanced Healthcare Directive

In order to create either a living will or a power of attorney for healthcare, most states only require that you are an adult (typically 18) and are competent when you create the document.

When a Living Will or Power of Attorney for Healthcare Begins

Both of these documents take effect when your doctor declares that you lack the “capacity” to make your own health care decisions. The standard is different in every state, but typically you no longer have the capacity to make health care decisions if:

  • You do not understand the nature and consequences of the health care decisions you are required to make
  • You cannot communicate your decisions orally, in writing or through gestures

Another option allowed in some states is to name a healthcare agent, who can act for you at any time if you grant them the power. This is a popular option with spouses and allows for immediate decisions to be made without having to have a doctor declare you incapacitated. Your healthcare agent can’t override the healthcare treatment wishes you set forth in your living will, and must always abide by your best interests.

When a Living Will or Healthcare Directive Stops Working

Your living will and the power of attorney for healthcare are generally extinguished upon your death. This also means that your healthcare agent, if you designate one, can only make healthcare decisions for you while you are alive and incapacitated. Some states allow your healthcare directives or agents to remain effective after your death only for limited purposes, such as the disposal of your remains.

Otherwise, your living will generally only ends if it is terminated by you or a court. The power of attorney for healthcare can similarly be revoked, but may also be affected by a divorce. Some states automatically revoke a divorced spouse as a healthcare agent, and any alternate you name would become your new healthcare agent. To avoid confusion, designate a new healthcare agent upon a divorce and always name alternate agents when drafting the original document.

Free Consultation with a Utah Power of Attorney Lawyer

If you are here, you may need help with a power of attorney for healthcare decisions or an advanced healthcare directive in Utah. If this is your situation, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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Buyer Beware in Real Estate Transactions

buyer beware in real estate transactions

A Real Estate Lawyer knows just how caveat the emptor should be in a commercial real estate transaction.

Before you get all 11th-grade-Latin-grammar class on us, we know that the phrase “let the buyer beware” doesn’t really parse into “emptors” being “caveat,” but when you’re knee-deep in a $100,000 or $1,000,000 real estate transaction that’s turning sour, who cares about grammar? A real estate attorney knows all too well the myriad number of things that can go wrong in buying or selling commercial property, but it’s your job as a buyer to do your due diligence before you get so hopelessly entangled in a deal that only a real estate attorney can pull you out of it. The article in the National Law Review has some tips that could save you money and a lot of headaches, but only if you listen to the advice.

Scope: what’s the property for? Are you looking to buy a house to add to your stash of rental properties? Or an entire apartment complex to improve that could have serious implications in the neighborhood? Or a lot for developing a medical complex, or a strip mall, or just a simple local business base? “Determining the property’s expected uses after the transaction” should serve “as a framework for the investigation.” Questions that a real estate attorney might encourage a buyer to ask of the sale would center on zoning restrictions, licensing requirements, and compliance with laws like the Americans Disabilities Act.

But how? Short of hiring a real estate attorney and letting them do all the footwork, where a buyer can start is the insurance policy, which “can be a wealth of information on the property, and any claims history can provide clues as to the property’s past.” Easements and encumbrances would be found on a title insurance policy, which would be helpful to know if they affected how the property could be used in the future.

Real estate lawyers who practice in Salt Lake City, Utah would likely agree with the caveat to examine the seller, too. Whether the seller is in good standing “with the appropriate agencies,” and does he “possess both the interest being sold as well as the authority to sell” are good questions that you don’t want to find out the answers to after you’ve already gone too far in the real estate transaction to back out. Keep an eye out for the seller’s finances too, as “bankruptcy can affect multiple aspects of the transaction.”

Again, the buyer should want to know what they’re getting into before they end up with a piece of property on their hands that came with too many surprises now that their pockets are a good $500,000 or so lighter. The buyer’s due diligence is to research the property and the implications of the transaction to the utmost, so he doesn’t end up shooting himself in the foot. Good lawyers would agree with this, though most attorneys would be happy to help where buyers felt that their interests were better served by a real estate lawyer’s specific strengths and expertise. We all want to know what we’re buying, and be smart about it.

Free Initial Consultation with Real Estate Lawyer

When you need help with a residential or commercial real estate matter in Utah, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.7 stars – based on 45 reviews


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