If you are a New Jersey resident over the age of 18 and you do not already have a power of attorney, you should think about working to get one in place before it is too late. A power of attorney is a legal document that gives someone that you designate the authority to make decisions for you in the event that you become incapacitated. According to U.S. News and World Report, these decisions can pertain to both financial matters and health care treatments.
You may associate powers of attorney with the elderly. However, both young and old alike have the potential to become incapacitated, either suddenly or gradually. For example, brain damage from a severe head injury could cause incapacitation at any age. It is not unheard of legal disputes to arise over medical decisions made on behalf of a relatively young person who becomes incapacitated due to trauma.
Nevertheless, as you grow older, and your risk of becoming incapacitated due to Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia becomes greater, it becomes more important than ever for you to have a power of attorney in place. This is especially true if you are at increased risk of developing dementia or another condition that could lead to incapacitation due to a family history thereof or a similar factor. The law restricts your ability to write a power of attorney after receiving such a diagnosis as impairment may have already set in.
The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.