Stayin’ Alive: How Your Divorce Affects Your Medical Proxy How to make sure you make your own medical decisions, not your ex-spouse

Stayin’ Alive: How Your Divorce Affects Your Medical Proxy How to make sure you make your own medical decisions, not your ex-spouse

If you are currently in the process of a divorce, your head is likely swimming with all sorts of important facts and questions:

  • Who is going to get the house?
  • What about the children?
  • How did you even get to this point?
  • And how are you going to move on with your life after this earth-shattering experience?

Nobody ever said this was going to be easy and you knew this going in. So before you have a total meltdown, sit down, take a deep breath, and tackle that giant mountain of paperwork in front of you. Read it back to front and make double – no triple – certain that you have not missed any important details.

One thing that you might not have even considered amidst the sea of paperwork and information are issues related to your health. Your physical health might be the furthest thing from your mind right now but it is vital that you realize the importance of such things as power of attorney, choice of health care proxy, and estate plans in general. For most of us, our spouse is listed as our emergency contact, our go-to person for any sort of emergency, and the one who holds the power to speak for us. After all, this is your spouse, your other half, a part of you that knows every pertinent detail of your life. When you were married, this was a huge convenience and safety net. Not anymore. Now, you must remove all power your spouse holds and pass it on to someone else, someone with your best interests in mind, someone you trust to handle your personal matters in the event that you become incapable of handling them yourself. Your health and health information is not something you want to put off, because tomorrow is unpredictable and anything could happen.

The time to update your health information is now. It is important to have all your ducks in a row should an emergency situation occur during or after your divorce. Imagine, if you will, that you become somehow disabled or incapacitated during the process of the divorce and your spouse holds power of attorney to make medical decisions for you. If that thought does not scare you into action, you may just be a lost cause. But if you are not one to take chances, read on for more information about Power of Attorney and what you need to know to avoid your life turning into a complete nightmare.

What is a Medical Proxy?

Okay class, before we begin with the details; let’s start with some simple definitions. Who can tell me what the term Medical Proxy means? Some of you may have heard this phrase before while others may have heard a different term that means the exact same thing. As previously mentioned, laws are different for each state and so are the names of the document. As such, a Medical Proxy may also be known as Power of Attorney, Health Proxy, Health Care Agent, Health Care Surrogate, or Attorney-in Fact (depending on your state of residence). So what does it all mean? It’s quite simple really – Power of Attorney (or whatever you and/or your state choose to call it) is simply a document that allows you to appoint another person to make decisions on your behalf in the event that you are unable to do so (such as in the case of disease, coma, or other trauma). A person with power of attorney may be able to sign your name, sell your property, or a number of other things. You can specify the power of attorney to be either general or specific. A general power of attorney will allow the appointed person (also called a proxy or agent) to make all sorts of decisions for you. A specific power of attorney allows you to decide what types of decisions the proxy can make on your behalf. A Medical Proxy or Medical Power of Attorney is one that allows the appointed person to make medical decisions for you.

One piece of advice, having a power of attorney before, during, and after your divorce will save you and your family a lot of headache, not to mention money. So either before or during the divorce process, make sure you (or an appointed representative) review(s) all the documents in which your spouse is named as your agent, such as your Power of Attorney. You may want to revoke the designation to avoid giving your soon to be ex-spouse decision making authority. Many states will automatically terminate your spouse’s authority as agent once an action is filed for divorce, annulment or legal separation, unless the Power of Attorney specifically states otherwise. However, this may not be the case in every state so you are best advised to consult with your lawyer or revoke any earlier Power of Attorney. Execute another Power of attorney (or medical proxy, or health care agent, etc. depending on what it is referred to according to your state law) and name a trusted family member or friend as your agent.

How do I make my Medical Power of Attorney legal?

Now that you know a little about what is a Power of Attorney, the next question to ask is “how?” So how do you legalize your medical power of attorney? Remember earlier when we mentioned that these laws are governed by the state? This means you must complete the medical proxy form for your state, which includes the information required by the law in your state. In most cases, the document must be signed before two witnesses or a notary public in order to be legally recognized. The information on each form varies from state to state so the legal status of the Power of Attorney for Health Care signed in one state may not be fully valid in another. If you spend considerable time in more than one state it is best to file a medical proxy in each one of those states, just to be on the safe side.

When Does a Power of Attorney for Health Care go into effect?

The legal responsibilities of your assigned medical proxy to make decisions on your behalf go into effect only after a physician has determined that you are unable to make medical decisions for yourself. This could be as a result of illness, severe injury, coma, or any other health-related issues that leave you unable to speak for yourself. Once a doctor has determined that you are unable to make these decisions on your own, the power of attorney kicks in and your fate is now in the hands of the proxy. As you have probably figured out by now, this legal status only lasts for the duration of your incapacity. So, if/when you recover from previously mentioned illness, injury or medical procedure, and are able to communicate your own wishes for your healthcare, the Health Care Agent (proxy) will no longer have the authority to make those decisions for you. Boom! You are once again free to make your own decisions (and deal with the aftermath of whatever decisions the person you appointed made for you).

Where Do I Get the Forms?

The forms for your state’s Health Care Power of Attorney are available from your doctor, from a local hospital, a nursing home, or online from your state government website. Many states have combined the Health Care Power of Attorney with the Living Will, in which case they will often appear in the same document called Advanced Directives.

What Powers or Authority is a Medical Proxy Granted?

During the time you are unable to direct your own treatment the Medical Power of Attorney will grant the person of your choosing the legal power to speak on your behalf. This means that person would have full rights to be informed by your doctor (or doctors) of your medical condition and to decide the course of treatment. They will have full access to your medical records and the authority to make choices on everything your treatment will entail including tests, surgery, or medication. They will have the right to choose which doctors, specialists, hospitals or other agencies will provide your medical care. Since the scope of authority varies slightly from state to state, you should review your state’s medical power of attorney form to ascertain the specific rights and duties granted in your state. However, a medical proxy is not given any authority over your financial or business decisions. This is another sort of proxy altogether (also one you might want to consider, but this is not the time nor the place – we are discussing your health now).

Divorced Parenting and Medical Proxy

To name a medical proxy for your children after divorce requires both living parents fill out and sign a document individually.  The laws for witnesses are different depending on the state of residence. If you and your ex-spouse live in different states it is wise to complete a Power of Attorney for Health Care in both states. If you complete both states’ forms at the same time you will ensure the information remains consistent. Also, make sure that the both forms are given to the health care power of attorney at the same time. CAUTION: If you change your mind later and decide to revise the document be sure to revise the forms for both states simultaneously to preserve consistency.

Changes to your Power of Attorney upon Divorce

The laws in each state will vary but generally your spouse is no longer your spouse for purposes of your Living Will once the judgment for divorce or annulment has been entered into the court records. Many states revoke any provisions under your Will that name your spouse as executor, trustee and guardian, or medical proxy or which give property to your spouse. The exception would be if the document specifically declares otherwise.

If you and your spouse divorce, your children have claim to inherit your estate. In the event your children are minors, the court would appoint a guardian to manage their inheritance and that guardian would most likely be your former spouse. To avoid this potential legal complication, you should update your estate plan and consider leaving your assets in a trust for the benefit of your children, managed by a trustee of your choosing.

Be advised:  being physically separated does not terminate the spousal relationship. While separated, your spouse will retain certain spousal rights, referred to as the “elective share” that entitle your spouse to a portion of your estate. To avoid this potential problem, a legal separation should be executed by the parties agreeing to waive such rights.

Review your plan

Whether you are considering a divorce or have received a final judgment of divorce, it is wise to review and update the provisions you had in place prior to divorce. The following documents should be reviewed and revised: Beneficiaries, Guardians, Trust documents, Advanced medical directives, Durable power of attorney and your Will.

To be certain your estate plan protects you and your loved ones – both during and after your divorce – it is important to communicate your exact wishes and execute the documents according to the laws governing your state.  Seek legal counsel if necessary; because leaving the future of your medical care, children’s care, assets and business to anything less than certainty is an invitation to a potential legal battle or a miscarriage of your intentions. For the safety and well-being of your family, it is important to make sure you know exactly what will happen to them and you in the event of an accident, emergency, or any other unexpected and unpredictable situation.

 

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5 New Musical Artists The Newly Divorced Man Needs To Know Get Hip Before You Start Dating Again

5 New Musical Artists The Newly Divorced Man Needs To Know Get Hip Before You Start Dating Again

Did you watch the Grammy’s this year? Then you were one of 25 million viewers, but that’s not as good as it sounds. In fact, the ratings were down over 10%, the lowest since 2009. Sure, “The Walking Dead” had its mid-season premiere at an overlapping time, but that’s not the primary reason. What’s going on is that people are just fed up with what the show and the industry have become: hostile to or indifferent toward the tens of thousands of relatively unknown, sometimes undiscovered artists. So we’re going to help you discover a few.

Each of the 5 new musical artists we’ve uncovered is unsigned or with a very small independent label. These guys work their tails off. When they travel to a show, they pray their event fees cover their gas to the next gig. The merchandise they sell feeds them. Now, if you like what you hear, go see a show, purchase their music and support them by letting your friends know about the new kickass band you found at guyvorce.com.

Let’s talk music, man!

Artist Name: Grown Up Avenger Stuff
Location: Charlotte, NC
Genre: Alternative, Indie Rock
Website: http://grownupavengerstuff.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GrownUpAvengerStuff
Twitter: https://twitter.com/avengerstuff

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zaMMozjqm4o]
Grown Up Avenger Stuff are characterized by the vocal stylings of Deirdre Kroener. Many music lovers will sit and listen to a studio recording and question whether the singer has the chops to take it to the live stage. Listen to “Pins” one, two, even five times and you Kroener’s vocal power becomes evident. I can personally testify that this song is BETTER live. When you add the power trio of John Thomsen (guitar), Hunter Thomsen (bass) [no relation to Hunter S. Thompson] and Tyler Thomsen (drums), you have the real deal. This is a band meant for the stage, for the live performance. If they hit your area, be sure to see them.

Artist Name: The Cold Start
Location: London, England
Genre: Indie Rock, Pop Rock
Website: http://thecoldstartband.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheColdStart
Twitter: http://twitter.com/TheColdStart

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IX3GS9CbxfM]
Cold Start is a quartet from London featuring anthem-like pop rock. “Chrysalis” is the first single — and a loud one at that — off their upcoming third album III. Turn the volume to high (Google it) and sing along with frontman Lloyd Williams. It’s the kind of song that makes you want to leave your past right there –in the past. Liberate yourself and enjoy The Cold Start from London.

Artist Name: Castlecomer
Location: Sydney, Australia
Genre: Folk Rock, Rock
Website: http://www.triplejunearthed.com/castlecomer
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/castlecomer

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWCR7bbq7x4]
If you’re ever in Sydney, do yourself a favor and look for Castlecomer. They’ve successfully used YouTube to build a large following. Their high quality videos and tight five-part harmonies helped them build an impressive following Down Under. They ultimately evolved from the world of Mumford & Sons into a more rock-oriented sound. The sound track/video “Forrest” was filmed in India. This folk-pop track is the style on which they built their strong following. Check out “Fugitive” to see how they’ve matured as a band.

Artist Name: RÊVE
Genre: Alternative, Art Rock
Location: Baltimore, MD
Website: http://www.officialreve.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/officialreveband
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ReveMusicUS

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOCcRDgOStw]

In January 2014, RÊVE released La Marionette, a concept album under the name of Playground Etiquette. The album deserves to be called “a work of art,” and while each track can be enjoyed on its own, the real power and emotion comes from the band’s ability to convey the power of fighting for freedom of expression. The first single (and third track) from this album, “Agency and Accountability” sets the tone. As the song’s tension builds, one can appreciate that sentiment’s being reflected in the universal desire for freedom. The band has recently announced that they have signed Steve Agee (Adventure Time, New Girl, Community) to star in their next video.

Artist Name: Face The King
Location: New York, NY
Genre: Alternative, Rock
Website: http://www.facethekingband.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/facetheking
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/facetheking

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCVpOLEFLfk]
Like each of the other artists here, Face The King is a band I’ve covered elsewhere before. Would it be fair to call them Coldplay with balls? U2 without the ego? Maybe, but one thing is certain: They are built for arenas. While their sound isn’t intentional, these boys from Long Island have created a type of music that’s been very successful at summer festivals. In short order, they’ll be moving off the smaller side stages and spending time with the headliners. Be sure to tell your friends you knew them when…

There you have it – 5 new musical artists from across the globe who are doing amazing things. Check out more of their music. See them live. Add them to your playlists. Then, smile when your friends stop and say “who are these guys?”

The Hidden Gem

At the end of each article, I offer you a “Hidden Gem.” This is your chance to keep adding new artists to your musical repertoire. This first one is a gem, but it’s not well hidden. St. Paul and the Broken Bones are getting a lot of buzz lately, but then again, if you are asked by David Letterman to do an encore on his show, you damn well deserve it. Long before they graced the stage at the Ed Sullivan Theater, the great people at Our Vinyl filmed them in an empty building in Nashville.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7s9A3s8iv8]
St. Paul and the Broken Bones riff off of live horns, powerful soul-like vocals and the kind of hook that makes everyone get out of their seats. Out of Birmingham, Alabama, the band captures a sound from years gone by. If Paul Janeway doesn’t get you, the wicked guitar riff and horns will.

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