A healthcare power of attorney is the document where you name the person who will make medical decisions on your behalf when you are unable to do so. Equally as important as having this document is telling your family who it is and why.
A legal battle started a short while ago disputing whether Sumner Redstone, the 92 year old titular leader of both CBS and Viacom (who earned a combined $24 million in compensation from the companies in fiscal 2014), still has the mental capacity to make informed decisions.
The suit was brought by Manuela Herzer, a former companion to Mr. Redstone. The two dated between 1999 and 2001 and, according to her, still maintain a close relationship. She was legally designated as the person to make Mr. Redstone’s medical decisions. However, in October, new documents were executed that stripped her of this power and named, instead, Phillippe Dauman, Redstone’s longtime lawyer and CEO of Viacom. In court filings, Ms. Herzer claims that Mr. Redstone does not have adequate mental capacity to replace her and has asked the court to make him undergo a medical evaluation to prove her point.
Most of us don’t earn $24 million dollars in one year and don’t have the kind of net worth of Sumner Redstone. However, the point is still as valid for you and me as it is for him. If you make changes in your healthcare power of attorney or other legal documents that relate to who can make decisions on your behalf, it’s a good idea to tell those involved so they will be aware of what you’ve done and why.
For more information about a healthcare power of attorney and other estate planning documents, go to www.diesmart.com.