St. Paul residents are reluctant to think about having to make difficult health care decisions for an ill relative, but there are instances when it is necessary to do so. Whenever a loved one is undergoing medical treatment or has been diagnosed with a disease, the issue is likely to come up as to what will happen if the ill person becomes incapacitated. Frequently, a power of attorney is utilized to make the process easier.
Aging and infirm celebrities are often the subject of stories regarding family members who are battling over how their care should be administered. One story that has recently been in the news involves famed radio and television music host Casey Kasem. Mr. Kasem is suffering from Lewy body disease. This is a common form of progressive dementia. He had been living in a nursing facility when he went missing, allegedly taken by his wife. His daughter had been granted a power of attorney for him. In addition, the daughter and other siblings contend that Mr. Kasem had signed a power of attorney in 2007 giving the children responsibility for his care. They claim that their stepmother has not allowed them to see their father. He was recently hospitalized.
There are many reasons for a family to consider a power of attorney or a health care power of attorney to avoid unpleasant disagreements between family members. It keeps the individual's wishes intact as there will be a legal agreement as to what happens once the person suffers from diminished capacity and is unable to care for him or herself. A power of attorney is designed to keep the ill person's health and financial interests in the hands of the person who is designated as the decision maker. This will ensure that bills are paid, assets are managed and the health care decisions are made by a trusted individual.
In this instance, Mr. Kasem is quite ill and there is an ongoing dispute about him between his wife and the children. His daughter was granted power of attorney over Mr. Kasem and the stepmother is allegedly interfering with the process. When there are circumstances such as this or concerns that similar issues could arise in the future with an aging or ailing loved one, discussing the matter with an attorney experienced in power of attorney issues is a wise decision.
Source: WSBT.com, "Casey Kasem hospitalized as feud continues," Steve Almasy, June 2, 2014