Powers of Attorney and Living Wills

Experienced Estate Planning Attorneys Advising Residents of Nashville

Making sure the right people are in charge of your health is an important aspect of ensuring your future is secured in the way that you see fit. Establishing a valid power of attorney and living will can be vital in the event you are suddenly incapacitated and unable to make decisions on your own. The estate planning lawyers at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard PLLC can help individuals in the Nashville area determine what provisions need to be put in place to protect their best interests and goals. MHPS, PLLC offers sophisticated legal representation for clients throughout Tennessee, offering seasoned advice and dedicated guidance in these sensitive issues.

Establishing Powers of Attorney and Living Wills

In Tennessee, the combination of a power of attorney document and a living will is referred to as an advanced care plan. Living wills are documents that establish which types of medical treatments you would allow or disallow in certain situations. These specifications may be as specific or general as the principal wishes. They may include directions regarding what type of life-prolonging methods should be used, as well as preferences regarding organ and tissue donations.

A power of attorney is established in order to authorize another individual, known as an agent, to make medical or financial decisions for the principal in the event that he or she becomes incapacitated and is unable to make those decisions on his or her own behalf. A written power of attorney form dictates when an agent is given this power as well as the kind of decisions it covers. Under Section 34 of the Tennessee Code, for a power of attorney to be valid it must:

  • Include specific information regarding what types of decisions an agent is authorized to make;
  • Contain the principal’s signature, notarized in front of at least two witnesses; and
  • Be signed at a time that the principal is mentally competent.

Any contract or decision that an agent makes for the principal while exercising his or her power of attorney becomes binding upon the principal, and in certain circumstances it may also bind his or her estate in the event of death. Although competent principals are able to revoke powers of attorney at any time, it is important to choose these individuals wisely and make sure they know your wishes regarding decisions that are entrusted to their care. Under Tennessee law, a principal may not designate an agent who is his or her treating health care provider, a health care institution’s operator, or employees of either organization, unless they are the principal’s relatives.

Seek Legal Guidance in Nashville When Making a Will

Trusting someone to make decisions for you in your place is no easy matter. Careful and detailed planning setting out your desires can help ensure your future interests are protected. The elder law attorneys at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard PLLC advise Nashville residents and others in Tennessee on ways to determine and articulate their wishes. We then help them devise appropriate instruments and documents to achieve those objectives. Our firm also assists individuals in Franklin, Cool Springs, and Hillsboro Village, among other communities in Williamson and Davidson Counties. To set up an appointment, contact us online or call us at 615-800-7096.