Eluana Englaro, 38, died in the middle of a debate about her right to die last night after doctors stopped feeding her.
It is probably more accurate to say: “after the withdrawal of artificially supplied nutrition and hydration.” Details.
Italy sounded eerily similar to the US and (gasp!) Florida as Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi went to Parliament to push for the passage of a special law to reinsert Ms. Englaro’s feeding tube. After she passed away during the debate, Prime Minister Berlusconi “accused the country’s president of being partly responsible for [Ms Englaro’s] euthanasia ‘killing.’
There are a number of news articles on the story – I even heard it picked up by NPR yesterday here in Columbus, but you need not waste your time on them… Instead, spend the time calling an estate planning lawyer and getting yourself a living will and a health care proxy!
Death is easy. Disability is the hard part.
This post by David Goldman of the Florida Estate Planning Lawyer Blog sums the problem of DGPOAs up very well:
Powers of Attorney are often a tough balancing act: You want them to be simple for trusted family members or friends to implement, without too many hoops each time a transaction is made. But you also want to avoid giving agents a license to steal.
These POAs are regular pieces of our estate plans and are great for curing many of the potential problems presented by one’s disability, but giving such power over your finances to another individual poses inherent risks. Appointing co-agents is a good idea but it makes regular transactions rather cumbersome as both signatures are required. Forcing your agent to report annually or more fruquently to a trusted advisor (attorney, financial advisor ect.) is also a good idea but a lot can be lossed in a year that may never be recovered.
There are risks but, in my opinion, these document’s benefits far outweigh these risks. The best way to ensure the safe management of your property in the event of your disability is to talk openly with your estate planning attorney. Death is easy… Its not being able to care for what you’ve got while you’re still around is where the deliberate and contemplitive skill of a professional is required.