Articles - Virginia Elder Law Attorneys


Although planning for incapacity is an integral aspect of any estate plan, elderly individuals are at a greater risk for developing a disability which prevents them from acting on their own behalf.  Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are just two examples of conditions which often develop later in life and may have a significant impact on the ability of a person to make decisions for himself or herself.  Elderly individuals should consider who will make decisions on their behalf when they are no longer able to do so, and what instruments, such as power of attorney instruments and an advance medical directive, will provide such individuals with the authority to act on their behalf.

When planning in the event of incapacity has previously been done, elderly individuals should periodically review such plans and make amendments as needed.  Amendments may be necessary when an individual who was previously named as an attorney-in-fact under a general or medical power of attorney instrument, or as an agent under an advance medical directive, is no longer close with the elderly individual or is no longer available to accept such responsibility.  Alternatively, the values of the elderly individual with regard to life-prolonging procedures and other medical decisions may have changed over time.  Amendments also may be necessary to address changes in the law.