Sick of New Year’s Resolutions? Add The ABA Power Of Attorney Health Care Guide To Your 2012

Sick of New Year’s resolutions yet?

This time of year, suggestions for lifestyle changes toward a healthier, happier home compose the majority of individuals’ New Year’s resolutions. Losing weight, getting fit, and joining a gym are among a person’s top ten goals for 2012.

Unfortunately, fewer than half of people stick to these resolutions.

It may explain why obesity is still prevalent in the U.S. And, why one survey, according to the CDC, found that around 30 percent of adults are sleep deprived—getting six or less hours of sleep at night—which can cause a variety of health problems. For lawyers, this is certainly not news.

In the ideal world, 2012 would be filled with joy and good health. Sadly, life and illness can be unpredictable.

That’s why—just in time for the holiday season—the American Bar Association (ABA) Commission on Law and Aging released a new publication that provides a simple, durable power of attorney for health care. This free publication meets the legal requirements of all but five U.S States.

The nuances of State laws make it difficult to create an overarching handbook, but the ABA’s guidelines are surprisingly applicable to every State except Indiana, New Hampshire, Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin.

“The ‘bare bones’ approach provides solely for the appointment of a health care agent with broad decision-making authority,” explains the ABA.

The publication, titled, Giving Someone a Power of Attorney for Your Health Care: A Guide with an Easy-to-Use Legal Form for All Adults, is available in English and Spanish.

The new guide gives individuals three, simple directives:

1. Think carefully about whom you want as your health care agent;
2. Provide guidance for the agent to make treatment decisions for you; and
3.Fill out the form and sign in the presence of two witnesses.

So, this year, instead of celebrating with chocolate and champagne, ring in the New Year at your law firm with a more responsible handout. Advise your employees to complete the ABA’s new form, available here online.

The publication may be “bare bones,” but there’s no need to also attach a skull and cross bones. Thinking about your health shouldn’t ruin your holiday spirit. As law firm administrator, give your employees a discount to the neighborhood gym or a gift card to a natural foods grocery store in addition to the ABA guide.

Giving someone a Power of Attorney for health care should be both a chilling reality and cheerful source of positive energy.

Have a happy, healthy New Year!

-WB

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