It’s important to have your legal documents in order, your living will, medical and financial powers of attorney etc. But what if you don’t want any of your children to fill these roles and there is no other family member? There are professional fiduciaries and health care professionals who can act as your powers of attorney. Some banks even provide trust services and will sometimes fill this role. Just make sure that whoever you choose has experience in the area and understands exactly what you want. I recently became the health care proxy for a developmentally disabled individual residing in a hospital for treatment because there was no family. My first project was to ask her, with witnesses from the hospital, what she would want in the event of becoming unconscious or unable to make decisions for herself. I will act as medical proxy or power of attorney, but not without first speaking to the individual about their wishes, because I realize that it’s my responsibility to carry out their wishes, not what I think or believe to be their wishes.

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