June 2022

Friday, June 10th, 2022
by William Erhart
By granting power of attorney, you can designate a trusted individual to act on your behalf or make decisions. Finances, businesses, and medical needs can be addressed with them, and they can be used for a single immediate need or on an ongoing basis. This all sounds pretty straightforward. There is a chance that you will want to download a free form if you are looking for services online. But will that be sufficient to ensure that your document is legally valid, important matters are handled swiftly, and your directives are being followed?

Financial Power of Attorney
Suppose a business colleague wants you to take care of his business operations, making critical decisions while he is out of the country. He makes you his power of attorney by using a free legal document found on the internet that promises to contain everything he needs to comply with state law. It is noticeably concise, and you wonder why legal documents have to be so lengthy and expensive in the first place.
When you go to your friend’s bank to transfer funds and are denied access, you find out why. The bank has different forms and rules that need to be considered when a power of attorney is filled out. Your friend didn’t know this, and he can’t be contacted easily for several weeks. When you track him down, he will have to fill out additional forms with the bank and get them notarized before you attempt any more transactions. The legal document failed.

Health Care or Medical Power of Attorney
You receive a call about a good friend who has suffered a head injury and needs urgent nursing home care. He is looking at long-term care costs between $5,000 and $8,000 a month for rehabilitation but lives on a fixed income of only $2,500 a month from Social Security. Medicare doesn’t cover long-term care services, and his income is too high to meet eligibility requirements for assistance from Medicaid. On top of facing a financial crisis, decisions need to be made about the level and cost of care he can afford, and your friend does not have the capacity to make them. You know what he has expressed in the past about specific treatments and efforts to prolong his life; you even witnessed the online form he used for a health care power of attorney. But his family members contest the document, and the doctors won’t listen without more specific advanced health care directives and a signed HIPAA release form. Another legal document failure.

The Dangers of Free Online Documents

How can online documents be legally approved for use by the public but be insufficient when you need to use them? The power of attorney documents that may have been helpful in the previous scenarios only offered general information for the most basic needs. With so many variables in finances, business, and medical situations, the language is not specific enough to address the unique problem.
When you get a power of attorney through an estate planning firm, each document contains wording regarding several circumstances and refers to other critical documents like living wills and trusts. Additional details instruct the person chosen to act on your behalf when dealing with decisions regarding banking and medical institutions or personnel. For example, it may permit them to set up another trust, reorganize assets, open and close banking or investment accounts, and require health care professionals to comply with your medical wishes.
A free online power of attorney could cost valuable time, money, and frustration. Many other legal considerations determine how your power of attorney will work. An estate planning attorney can go over common pitfalls and discuss options to avoid them. When you rely on legal documents to get an important job done or simplify decisions in an emergency, it needs to work as promised. Consult with an attorney to ensure you are prepared to handle any situation. For more information and further inquiries about your personal situation, please contact our office at 302.651.0113.

By: Megan Brooks

May 25, 2022 – Healthy older adults who regularly eat cranberries may see better memory and brain function, plus lower cholesterol at the same time, according to a new study.
The study, published last week in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition, found that people ages 50 to 80 who ate the equivalent of a cup of fresh cranberries a day for 12 weeks saw significant improvement in their memory of everyday events.

At the same time, the people in the study saw greater flow of oxygen and glucose to important parts of the brain that support memory.

The findings are "very encouraging," says lead researcher David Vauzour, PhD, especially since the cranberry "intervention" only lasted 12 weeks and yet was able to generate significant improvements in both memory and brain function.

But he cautions that the study only included healthy older people. So it is not known whether the memory-boosting effect of cranberries will translate to adults who already have memory problems, says Vauzour, of the University of East Anglia Norwich Medical School in the United Kingdom.

Cranberries grow on vines in freshwater bogs, mostly in the northern United States and southern Canada. They are packed with micronutrients that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, especially anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins, which give the berries their red color and have been found to improve thinking skills.

They can be eaten dried or put into foods like smoothies.

But a word of caution: Earlier research found that drinking cranberry juice didn’t improve thinking skills. While drinking cranberry juice can have health benefits, many products come with large amounts of added sugar. They are also often diluted with water, meaning you have to drink more to see the benefits of the berries.

In the current study, not only did 12 weeks of eating cranberries daily improve memory and brain function, it also lowered "bad" LDL cholesterol, known to add to plaque buildup in arteries. This suggests that cranberries can improve the health of blood vessels, including those in the brain.
The investigators say their study lays the foundation for future research on cranberries and brain health.

But Vauzour noted that not everyone should start loading up on cranberries every day. In addition, people taking blood thinners "should seek advice from their doctor as there are reported interactions," he said.

Balanced Diet Best

Zhaoping Li, MD, who wasn't involved in the study, isn't surprised by the results. "Foods rich in phenolic compounds such as berries and other fruits have been shown to improve memory, especially visual memory. We have done a similar study with pomegranate with similar findings," says Li, who heads the Center for Human Nutrition at the UCLA School of Medicine.

"The key message should be eating more natural foods, such as fruits and vegetables, to replace ultraprocessed foods will improve our overall health beyond memory," she says.

Also weighing in on the study, Heather Snyder, PhD, a vice president with the Alzheimer's Association, said the "opportunity to eat a balanced diet may contribute to decreasing one's risk for cognitive decline and dementia."

But to date, there is not one single ingredient that, through rigorous research, has been found to prevent or reduce risk for dementia, she says.

"Given the complexity of the brain and the diseases that cause dementia, it is unlikely that one food, ingredient, or supplement in isolation will have a significant beneficial effect against a disease. For now, we recommend focusing on diet as a whole and incorporating many healthy foods -- vegetables, fruits, lean proteins -- into your diet," Snyder says.

The study was supported by a grant from the Cranberry Institute, but it was not involved in the design, implementation, analysis, or interpretation of the data.

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