By: Jason D. Briel, Esq.One of the most vital aspects of owning an automobile is properly protecting yourself from the unknown. Accidents can happen at anytime, anywhere and many times due to no fault of your own. When you suffer serious injuries in an automobile accident you have the option of suing the driver responsible for your injuries. However, you may only recover from the responsible party what they have paid for in terms of automobile liability insurance coverage. Under current laws, especially in Pennsylvania, drivers can take to the streets with liability coverage as little as $15,000.00. After paying for the costs of the lawsuit an injured party may barely have enough money left over to pay for out-of-pocket expenses.
Executing a power of attorney is a cheap and efficient way to protect yourself incase of temporary disability for a person of any age. In the event you are disabled for a short or long period of time, it is important to have named an attorney-in-fact who has the authority to act on your behalf to pay your mortgage, utilities and many other financial or real property concerns you may have. It is especially important as you become older, as the risk of incapacitation increases. I have experienced a handful of sad and unfortunate cases where a family member was diagnosed with the onset of Alzheimers or another form of dementia. The family dragged their feet when it came to preparing for the uncertain future of their unfortunate family member. Only once the family member slipped further into dementia where he or she could no act on his or her behalf did they consider the need for a power of attorney. Now the family was unable to communicate with banks and insurance companies because they were not authorized to do so. A few of these cases came to me for a power of attorney after the point of no return for their loved one, and because their loved one was unable to understand the power they were relinquishing, my office was unable to go through with the signing of the instrument. If the principal of the document does not have a sound mind and a full understanding of the powers they are giving away and their potential consequences, an attorney is ethically unable to execute the document. The alternative in this type of situation is to apply for guardianship at your county courthouse, which is a much more expensive and time consuming option. Try to be prepared for these situations, especially those situation when you are on notice of the pending disability. It will make coping with the uncertainties of the future that much easier.