Israeli law has changed the way it deals with the elderly and incapacitated by empowering them with a legal option, an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA), which enables them to decide how they would like their medical and personal affairs to be handled when they are no longer able to care for themselves.
In the Spirit of the upcoming Passover, the holiday of freedom, here are 10 reasons why you should prepare an EPA:
- The EPA grants you the freedom to choose your own future course of care by appointing someone on your behalf to handle your issues (usually a family member or a close friend). Although this legal document is prepared today, it will only come into effect in the future if and when you are no longer capable to handle your affairs on your own.
- This tool comes to replace Guardianship and is a much smoother, easier, and less bureaucratic ordeal.
- In addition to an Appointee, you can also write guidelines (preliminary instructions), that will act as operating instructions for the Appointee.
- By preparing an EPA you are taking control of your own future, so that you can live as independently as possible according to the choices, desires and preferences, which you determine in advance.
- The EPA covers three main issues financial, medical and personal. You can appoint one Appointee for all matters, or for example, one for financial matters, one for personal matters and one for medical matters. It is recommended to appoint an alternative Appointee (at least one) in the event that the first Appointee resigns/can no longer act as an Appointee.
- As opposed to Guardianship, you decide how and when the EPA comes into effect, for instance via a medical opinion from a specialist, or a family doctor who knows your medical history.
- The Appointee must act diligently, with dedication and without negligence, to protect your affairs and not his own.
- Although the Appointee has general authority to manage your affairs, subject to your wishes as expressed in the EPA, there are a few actions which require specific authorization in the document or a court order.
- Every three years from the date of its deposit and until the EPA comes into effect, the Administrator-General will send you a reminder that you have deposited an EPA and ask that you confirm that you are still interested in having one, and of your right to revoke or change it (similar to a will, the most recent EPA takes precedence over any ones prior to it).
- The EPA is no longer valid when you pass away, however the person you had appointed through this document, may continue to deal with certain financial matters (until the appointment of an Executor of a will or a will probate) for a period not exceeding 90 days, unless the Appointee specified otherwise in the EPA. This includes paying last bills and paying funeral expenses.
The EPA is a tool for everyone, not just for senior citizens, who want to maintain their freedom to choose and thus take control over their life. Similar to insurance, it is prepared for the unknown future and therefore should be considered seriously when thinking about planning ahead.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter and is not a substitute for legal consultation. Specific legal advice should be sought in accordance with the particular circumstances.