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Mental Health Power of Attorney

By October 20, 2012Estate Planning

Recently I received a telephone call from a very concerned daughter regarding the mental condition of her mother. Jane explained that her mother, Mary, had a history of being paranoid. Five years ago the doctors had diagnosed Mary with paranoid schizophrenia. Jane convinced her mother to go to the hospital a few days ago, and her mother went reluctantly. After spending two days in the hospital, Mary decided she wanted to leave and did so against the medical advice of the hospital staff.

Jane knew her mother needed help for her mental health condition, but didn’t know where to turn. Jane found our law firm through a Google search of “mental health.”

The first question I asked Jane was whether Mary had executed a Mental Health Care Power of Attorney. Unfortunately, Mary had never planned for incapacity or death and did not have any of the necessary documents. Jane’s voice was trembling over the telephone because she knew her mother was a danger to herself and possibly to others. Jane was desperately searching for advice about how she could get her mother the help she needed.

My heart ached as I had to explain to Jane that she would have to go through some additional and costly steps to help her mother. Since Mary wasn’t being cooperative and had never created a Mental Health Care Power of Attorney, Jane would need to contact the local police authorities to gather the proper evidence necessary to transport Mary to the hospital. Then an emergency petition must be filed with the court and the judge would issue an Order to place Mary in the custody of a secure facility for her best interest.

During the court process, we can only pray that the one with mental health issues is safe and not a danger to themselves or others. If Mary had planned for the possibility of incapacity, the process would have been much simpler and less costly for Jane. A Mental Health Care Power of Attorney handles the situation where one is suffering from a mental health disorder by allowing a previously named person to have the authority to admit the incapacitated individual to a mental health facility should the need arise. In this situation, no police or court involvement is necessary.

We don’t like to think about the possibility of ourselves or our loved ones having a mental health disorder.  However, we each must plan now by executing a Mental Health Care Power of Attorney to save our loved ones from the heartache in case the need arises.

 

What the Attorneys of Morris Hall Can Do For You:
The attorneys at Morris Hall have 100’s of years of combined experience ensuring that families’ assets are protected from probate, unnecessary taxes, creditors, ex-spouses and Medicaid spend-down.  The attorneys also help those in Arizona and New Mexico to apply for and receive Medicaid assistance and Veterans Benefits.  Our Arizona offices are located in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Tucson, Prescott, Flagstaff and Arrowhead.  Our New Mexico offices are located in Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe.  Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!

This blog should be used for informational purposes only.  It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice.  If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.

About Morris Hall:

At Morris Hall, we have focused our legal practice on estate planning for over 40 years.  Along with estate planning, our attorneys help clients and their families with matters of probate, trust administration, wills, power of attorneys, business planning, succession planning, legacy planning, charitable gifting and other important legal aspects.  We also have divisions in financial, real estate and accounting to help you incorporate all of your planning together, ensuring that everything works perfectly for your needs and situation. Our Arizona offices are located in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Tucson, Prescott, Flagstaff and Arrowhead.  Our New Mexico offices are located in Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe.  Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!

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