Importance of Estate Planning: “What If” – Importance of Power of Attorney and Health Care Power of Attorney

WHAT IF I become unable to pay my bills or make health care decisions?

This is where a Durable Power of Attorney (POA) can be worth its weight in gold. Not having a durable power of attorney or health care power of attorney, could cause unnecessary delays and hardships for your loved ones who are trying to make important decisions for you while you are unable to. There are two types of Power of Attorneys (POA), financial and medical/healthcare. These are important legal documents that EVERYONE should have. What you don’t want is to be unprepared when the unexpected happens. You are never too young or old to get a Financial Power of Attorney or a Health Care Power of Attorney.

A well written Power of Attorney and POA appointing a health care representative can save you and your loved ones innumerable delays that could be devastating. If you become incapacitated, who do you want to make your financial decisions such as paying your bills, your mortgage, able to withdraw money to pay a medical expense, to name a few? Who do you want to make your health care decisions such as what treatment to get, procedures to have or not have, medicines to take, or life prolonging decisions to name a few, if you are unable too? Right now you probably a person or persons in mind that you would want to make those decisions for you. This person(s) should be a trusted family, friend, or loved one, who knows your wishes and desires. Choosing a person(s) should be made in advance as the “What If” could happen at anytime, without notice. These important decisions if not made prior to a “What If” incident, cannot be made after the “What If” happens, it is too late. A Durable Power of Attorney (Durable POA) will allow the person you choose to be your attorney-in-fact or agent. This gives that person(s) the ability to make financial and medical decisions on your behalf. You want to choose someone that you trust, as this is giving them immense authority and power. Do not take this lightly and delay, plan for the “What If” now. No one plans on the “What If” incident/accident, but you can plan on who will make these difficult and important decisions when you are unable to if the “What If” happens. Appointing someone as your attorney-in-fact or agent does NOT mean they can make you do something you do not want to do, nor does it take away your ability to make decisions for yourself. While you have the capacity to make decisions, your decision supersedes theirs, these legal documents merely allow someone else to make decisions if you are unable too.

If you have discussed with someone what you want done or not done, what type of treatment you want or do not want, or what bills must be paid in the event you are unable to do them yourself, then you should have a Durable Power of Attorney in place to allow that person or another loved the ability to legally act on your wishes, whether financially or medically.

Please contact the trusted attorneys at Perry Law Office to help ensure that if the “What If” happens, you are prepared.

Thank you
Perry Law Office, P.C.

Posted in Estate Planning, Power of Attorney Tagged with: , , ,

What is a Advance Directive?

Have you ever gone to the hospital for a procedure, even a minor one, and been asked if you have a Living Will, an Advance (Medical) Directive or a Power of Attorney?

If you were unsure or your answer was “maybe” or “I think so”, you probably need to contact an attorney to discuss your estate planning needs. An Advance Directive, Healthcare Directive, Medical Directive, Advance Medical Directives, or a Living Will are all generally described as the same thing. Actually, the term “Advance Directive” means a written document or statement of a person’s wishes regarding medical treatment to ensure those wishes are carried out should the person be unable to communicate with a doctor or medical provider. A Living Will is one of the most common forms of Advance Directives and many people consider Advance Directives and Living Will as one and the same. However, an Advance Directive could also including a Durable Power of Attorney appointing a Health Care Representative (Durable Health Care Power of Attorney). Today we are focusing on the Living Will or Advance Medical Directives.

If you have ever been to a hospital for yourself or a loved one, you may have seen folded pamphlets at check-in that say Advance Medical Directives or Living Will. And in most cases, if you are getting a procedure done you have been asked if you have one of these documents. The reason the hospital, doctor, or medical provider wants you have one as part of your estate plan is quite obvious, they want to know what YOU medically want done in case the worse or unexpected happens. This is a simple but important document that you should have. However, simply having a Living Will or Advance Directive does not fully ensure your wishes will be carried out to their fullest as these are generally limited to life-prolonging procedures. A Living Will tells your doctor and family that if you are near death with no hope of recovery, whether you DO or DO NOT want to receive medical treatment that will prolong the dying process. It will state whether you want to die naturally and NOT be put on a ventilator, receive artificially supplied nutrition and hydration, OR that you DO want to be put on a ventilator and DO want to receive artificially supplied nutrition and hydration, even if the effort to sustain life is futile or excessively burdensome to you.

In a Living Will you have 3 options that you may choose from: (1) Receive artificially supplied nutrition, etc; (2) Do NOT receive artificially supplied nutrition, etc; OR (3) I intentionally leave the decision to my Healthcare Representative (Durable Health Care Power of Attorney).

As I stated above a Living Will or Advance Directive may NOT fully ensure your wishes are carried out. If you are unable to communicate, BUT are not in need of artificially supplied nutrition, who will make your medical decisions for you? A loved one, even a spouse at times are not allowed to make certain decisions on your behalf without a Durable Power of Attorney Appointing a Health Care Representative (Health Care Power of Attorney). This is where a having a Durable Power of Attorney Appointing a Health Care Representative is important and necessary. A properly appointed Health Care Representative (Healthcare Representative) can make these decisions for you including life-prolonging decisions. However, a Living Will is limited to only life-prolonging decisions and does not state what other types of treatments you may want or do not want.

You should contact an experienced attorney to discuss your options before you go have a procedure done, no matter how small.

Call Perry Law Office today to talk to one of our attorneys to discuss what is the best option for you and your family.

Perry Law Office, P.C.

Posted in Estate Planning, Living Wills/Advance Directives, Power of Attorney Tagged with: , , , ,

Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance/Disability Insurance Benefits?

What is the difference between Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance/Disability Insurance Benefits? 

Difference between Supplemental Security Income (SSI) under Title XVI of the Social Security Act and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI or SSD) otherwise known Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) or Social Security Disability, under Title II of the Social Security Act. Most people do not know there are two different programs administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA). In fact there are others but these are the two I am going to focus on today. The main difference is that Supplemental Security Income is income based and only available to low-income disabled individuals. If you make too much or have too much money saved in a bank or a retirement plan such as an IRA, 401K, or the like, or you live with you may not be eligible for SSI. Supplemental Security Income also has a cap on your monthly benefits that is substantially lower than Disability Insurance Benefits. Generally SSI is for those who have never worked, including children; who have worked but very little and have not worked enough to qualify for DIB; for those who have worked but a long time ago. Along with meeting one of these, you must be considered low-income pursuant to Social Security Administration.

Disability Insurance Benefits or Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits are available when an individual has earned enough work credits (paid enough into the Social Security fund through your paycheck, which are taken out with your taxes). From each of your pay checks your employer must pay FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act) taxes. This is more like paying an insurance premium. Each time you got paid, a portion of your check went to a fund to support Social Security. In return for making such payments, upon becoming disabled you are entitled to various monthly disability benefits. The amount you receive is specifically related to the amount you have put in over the years. If you have worked or have not worked enough you will not be eligible for Disability Insurance Benefits. Another factor to consider is how long you have been out of work, Social Security uses a formula which creates a date where you are no longer eligible for DIB. This is called your date last insured. In order to receive Disability Insurance Benefits you must be found disabled prior to your date last insured.

Beyond these major differences, the actual requirements to be found disabled are the same. The definition of disabled does not change, but the program you are eligible to be found disabled under may based on your work history and financial status.

You can be found disabled and qualify for both Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance. If applying you should apply for both to protect your right to claim either. If you never apply you may lose out on benefits you may otherwise be entitled to.

If you have been denied Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance (Disability Insurance Benefits), you may want to call an attorney to help you receive the benefits you may otherwise be entitled too.

Call Perry Law Office today to speak with an experienced attorney to discuss your options and help you obtain SSI or Disability Insurance Benefits. Remember, once you receive an denial you have a short deadline to appeal.


Thank you

Perry Law Office, P.C.

Posted in Social Security Disability Tagged with: , , , , ,

Perry Law Office has been named one of the best Estate Planning Lawyers in Fort Wayne by!

We would like to congratulate our Attorneys and Staff for helping Perry Law Office, P.C. as being named one of the best Estate Planning Lawyers in Fort Wayne by Check us out!

We, at Perry Law Office strive to provide the best services and at affordable prices. If you need a Will, Power of Attorney, Health Care Power of Attorney, or Living Will please reach out to us today and let an experienced lawyer at Perry Law Office help you determine what the best estate plan is for you. At Perry Law Office, we understand the importance of customizing your estate plan for your needs. To learn more information please go to our website or call us today 260-483-3110!


Thank you

Perry Law Office, P.C.

Posted in Estate Planning, Power of Attorney, Wills Tagged with: , , , , ,

Power of Attorney is an essential estate planning tool!

A durable power of attorney is an essential estate planning tool. A durable power of attorney can be utilized for Financial and/or Appointment of a Health Care Representative. A Financial Power of Attorney and a Heath Care Power of Attorney should be part of your estate plan whether you are an individual or a couple.

Why create a power of attorney? Because, if you become disabled and unable to handle your affairs this document can be invaluable. If, you are in an accident and are unable to make decisions or handle your financial affairs or your health care needs, the person designated as your power of attorney can do that for you. A person must be competent in order to create a power of attorney. If you are in an accident or have an illness that renders you  not competent to handle your Affairs you are probably not competent to create a power of attorney at that time. Creating a power of attorney and naming a person as your power of attorney does not mean that person must act for you, it allows them to if the need arises. You can still conduct your own Affairs and handle all of your financial and health care needs while you are competent and able to do so.

What makes a power of attorney such a wonderful estate planning tool is that if it is needed it can be used instead of the need for a guardianship. A guardianship is a procedure where a relative, friend, or other interested  person files a petition  in  the court requesting the court to appoint them guardian of your person and/or estate in order to make decisions for you financially or for your health care. There will generally be a hearing in front of the judge. Guardianship proceedings  can be somewhat costly and will take some time to accomplish. Having a power of attorney in place in case it might be needed is something we recommend for all of our clients.

Financial Durable Power of Attorney and Durable Power of Attorney Appointing a Health Care Representative are very important but sometimes are never used, however if needed they can make it a lot easier and substantially less burdensome for the person who is now tasked with making all your financial and medical decisions. The need for a power of attorney is not usually known until it is too late. To prevent unnecessary hard-ache and additional costs and time, invest in a power of attorney now, making that one less thing that a loved one must deal with at a later time.

We, at Perry Law Office, P.C., feel this is an essential part of any estate plan and will strongly suggest you create both a Financial Durable Power of Attorney and Durable Power of Attorney Appointing a Health Care Representative along with your Will. These estate planning documents working well together and help to fully ensure that your wishes are carried out as you intended. In general Power of Attorneys end at death and a Will does not become effective until death.

Call Perry Law Office to talk to an experienced Estate Planning Attorney for a free telephone consultation to see if a power of attorney is something that is right for you.

Thank you

Perry Law Office, P.C.

Posted in Estate Planning, Power of Attorney Tagged with: , , ,

What happens to my claim if the person that owes me money dies?

If someone owes you money (a debtor), does your claim die with that person? The short answer is NO, however you have a limited time to act and preserve your right. This does not mean you are going to get paid as this will depend on the decedent’s assets but it allows you the option of getting paid.

Indiana Law provides creditors with a very short window of opportunity to present a claim against a deceased debtor. Indiana code  29-1-14-1 provides that all claims against a deceased person are barred if not filed within nine (9) months after the date death. This means that you must file a claim in the debtor’s estate within nine (9) months of the date of  their death. It does not matter if you were not notified. It does not matter if an estate was not opened for the debtor. If an estate was not opened for the debtor you would need to take action to have an estate opened in order to file your claim. Obviously doing this might not be economically feasible unless your claim is substantial and you believe or know that the debtor might have assets sufficient to cover the amount of your claim. You would have to pay any filing fees or other associated costs, if any. By doing this you are hoping the debtor has sufficient money to pay all expenses ahead of yours (administrative expenses, other creditors who may be head of you, ie, mortgage company). This may not be known until you open the estate and file your claim.

If an estate has been opened and you find out about the estate within the nine (9) month period you can file a claim for the money the deceased owed you. However, there could be another roadblock. Normally when an attorney opens an estate for a decedent they publish notice of the opening of the estate in a local newspaper and notify by letter the known creditors of the decedent. You only have three (3) months from the date of first publication in the newspaper of the notice to file a claim. This could be less than  nine (9) months from the date of death.

If a person that owes you money dies, your best chance of recovery is to immediately contact an attorney knowledgeable in filing claims in estates.


Thank you

Perry Law Office, P.C.


Posted in Collections Tagged with: , ,

Your Responsibility to Report Financial Changes AFTER Being Found Disabled

 It was a long time coming, but the Social Security Administration (SSA) has finally found you are disabled and you are now receiving Disability Insurance Benefits and/or Supplemental Security Income(SSI). This could be as a result of being found disabled upon your initial application or if after you attending a social security hearing in front of an Social Security Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). Whether you represented your self or were represented by an attorney, the responsibility to notify SSA of any changes is solely your responsibility. 

You need to be aware of the requirement to report certain changes in your circumstances to SSA. One such change, but a big one, is getting a paying job. Whether working affects your disability benefits will depend on your specific case. It is important that if you do get a paying job you notify Social Security Administration immediately. Another event where you need to update SSA is if you are receiving SSI, and you receive non-work based income. This could include, but is not limited to, someone giving you money or someone providing you a place to live for free. Especially with SSI, both situations have the potential of impacting how much you receive in benefits for a month.

Prompt reporting can go a long way towards heading off SSA from saying you have been paid too much and asking for repayment of benefits received. You are required to report changes to SSA no more than 10 days after the end of the month in which the changes take place. To report changes you may visit your local SSA office in person, go on line at, or call 1 – 800 – 772 – 1213.

If you have applied for Social Security Benefits, whether Disability Insurance Benefits and/or Supplemental Security Income and have been denied please contact Perry Law Office, P.C. as we may be able to help you. Just because you are working part-time does not mean you are not disabled.


Thank you

Perry Law Office, P.C.


Posted in Social Security Disability Tagged with: , , ,

Landlord and Tenant Law in Indiana: Dangers in Advertising

ADVERTISING: You have purchased a house or apartment complex and now you want to rent it out. Or you have recently obtained a position as manager of rental units for an owner. The first step of course is locating tenants. There are pitfalls and liabilities that you can incur simply trying to obtain tenants. The Indiana Consumer Deceptive Practices Act applies to the leasing of Apartments as well as other matters. You should not make any representations in your advertisement which you know, or should know are not correct. A deceptive act in an advertisement for the leasing of Apartments could subject the owner or the management company to civil fines. An owner can be held liable even if the owner did not draft or cause the deceptive statement to be published. The key is whether or not the owner authorized the use of the advertisement. An example of a deceptive act in advertising is an ad that claims that a rental unit has certain accessories, amenities, or benefits which are not actually available. If certain appliances or amenities are only available in certain units you must be careful in your advertisement not to imply that those items or amenities are available in all units. Special offers or promotions can also get you into trouble. For example if the special offer is limited as to the number available or there is a time limitation on the offer you must be clear and indicate that in your advertising. If your offer of 1 months free rent, or special pricing, or no security deposit applies only to certain units, you must make it clear that there is a limitation like that in your advertisement.

You can also violate the Fair Housing Act in your advertising. If you use pictures of people in your advertising, and the pictures of the tenants in your advertisements are always of a certain race, or are always adults without children this could be construed as an intent to discriminate. Also be careful of certain words used in the advertisement that may be indicative of discrimination. Words such as private, restricted, or exclusive should be avoided. Always use common sense, and make sure you make no statement that is in any way misleading or false in your advertising.

Adveristing is very important Landlords and Management Companies, however if done incorrectly, it could become very costly or result in unanticipated negative consequences.

If you have a question regarding advertising your rental houses, apartments, complexes, or duplexes, call the attorneys of Perry Law Office for a free telephone consultation. Better to be safe than sorry.

Posted in Landlord Tenant Law Tagged with: , , ,

Have you “mapped out” your assets for your heirs?

You probably have a Last Will and Testament describing how assets are to be distributed, but have you made a list of where those assets can be found? You want to make sure your family is able to locate everything you have worked so very hard for. An asset inventory is a simple list which makes it easier on your loved ones by telling them exactly where to find all your assets and various accounts.

You may have numerous bank accounts with different banking institutions, cash, collectibles, online accounts, emails, retirement plans, insurance policies, and perhaps even receive “paperless” statements only via email. It is a good idea to leave a list of passwords, account numbers and locations. Your asset inventory may include:

  • Bank and investment accounts
  • Safe Deposit Box
  • Insurance and annuity policies
  • Stocks and bonds
  • Deeds and titles
  • Retirement Accounts (IRA, 401K, etc)
  • Life Insurance policies (any post-death benefits)
  • Cash, jewelry, valuables
  • Email and online accounts with passwords.
  • Certain bills or premiums you pay may also be included
  • Combinations to a safe or location of a safe key

This is a very important Estate Planning step, that most people forget about. Doing this very simple step, could save your loved ones hours of time and energy trying to locate and organize all your varous assets.

After you have mapped it all out, tell a loved one where you are going to keep the list. Generally you keep it in your safe along with your Will and other important documents (remember you should give someone the combination to your safe or a way to access it). Remember to periodically update your asset inventory, and always update your Will with major life events. Call Perry Law Office now and our experienced attorneys will help you decide if now is the time to make changes to your Will or help you with your other Estate Planning needs.

Posted in Estate Planning, Wills Tagged with: , ,

Collecting On a Debt Is Not As Easy As It May Seem

There is a misconception that getting a money judgment against someone, means they will pay you. In general, that is NOT the case. We, at Perry Law Office, have found that on average it can take up to two (2) years to collect on a judgment depending on the various circumstances and how old the debt is. There are of course those rare circumstances when you get paid immediately upfront. But in most circumstances that is not the case. Getting the money judgment is only the first step. Debtors, tend to move. Debtors, tend to switch jobs. Debtors, tend to be unwilling to voluntarily pay a debt they owe. Debt Collection takes some time and hard work. Finding employment, personal assets, or bank accounts can be very difficult. Not to mention, finding the debtor and getting proper service in order to enforce your claim against them.  The experienced staff and attorneys at Perry Law Office, are equipped to find these debtors and collect from them. Perry Law Office can find where they are working and garnish their wages, levy on their bank account, or set up voluntary payments. If someone owes you money and you are not sure how to collect, hire an experienced lawyer to help you collect the money owed to you. Hiring an attorney is not as painful as you may believe. In most cases, you do NOT have to pay the attorney any attorney fees. Like at Perry Law Office, our fee is typically done on a contingent fee basis, meaning if we do NOT collect, you do not owe us anything. Call Perry Law Office to discuss how we may be able to help you recoup your money.

Posted in Collections Tagged with: , , ,