couple reviewing estate planning documents

My name is Patty Hanson, and I work as a managing director and co-owner of IKOR of Western Pennsylvania. I am also a certified professional counselor and a professional in aging life care. The solutions for dignity programs are a brand of programs I’ve developed to assist persons with disabilities and the elderly.

Since 2011, I’ve been in leadership of a group of registered nurses that serve as patient advocates, personal needs coordinators, and financial advocates as we navigate and meet the needs of elders, disabled individuals, and children with special needs in terms of advocacy services and life management.

In this article, we are going to discuss the importance of your estate planning documents.

Although it may sound strange coming from someone who specializes in care, you truly should plan yours. You should always plan from a care perspective while working with your estate planning council.

The majority of people believe that your will is the most significant estate planning document. Yes, if you want to control what occurs after your death, you need a will. But I’m focused on assisting individuals in leading dignified lives in my day-to-day work. And I discover that when someone does not complete a power of attorney or a living will, their life can become confusing and difficult as they age.

Conflicts frequently arise when family members are unable to manage your care because they are unaware of your wishes. Additionally, without these records that were left unfinished before a medical emergency, the following stage of your care is frequently problematic.

People who have not planned can sometimes find themselves in a guardianship. A legal process called guardianship is used to safeguard those who, either because they are incapable or have a disability, are unable to care for their own well-being.

A legal guardian will be appointed by the court to look after a person who will need specific protection. When this happens, the person becomes a ward of the state. By drafting these crucial documents, guardianship can be easily avoided.

What is A Power of Attorney Document?

A power of attorney is a legal document that gives one person the authority to act on behalf of another. This gives the person you have chosen wide or restricted legal authority to handle your finances, property, and medical care. Additionally, it is applied when a person’s illness or handicap renders them incapable of signing legal papers required for financial transactions.

A medical power of attorney is a legal document that gives one person the authority to make important decisions on your behalf only when your doctor certifies that you are incapable of doing so.

In your living will, you express your preferences for both end-of-life care and other types of medical treatment. And once more, they only apply if you are unable to express your preferences.

The Five Wishes Document

At IKOR, we also collaborate with our clients to develop a document known as the Five Wishes document. The Five Wishes document is a fundamental document that outlines your desires in terms of your physical, mental, and spiritual well-being as well as your medical preferences in case you get critically ill. It is recognized as a legal document in several places, including Pennsylvania.

You can give your loved ones extremely clear instructions about your purpose by preparing these documents with the help of your personal attorney. It is crucial for you that they are not forced to make difficult decisions in the dark about your intentions. 

At IKOR, we can help your family members as they negotiate these challenging situations or we can support seniors in any of these positions. We will also collaborate with your financial advisor or attorney to facilitate discussions on these documents. They take care of the legal and financial matters, and we assist you with your care-related requirements to ensure dignity and a high standard of living for the duration of your life.

To learn more about how IKOR can help you with this proactive process, you can contact us toll free at 855-456-7972 or visit our website at