Legal arrangements an important New Year's resolution

Posted at 5:58 PM, Dec 30, 2016

As you consider New Year's Resolutions, here's one you many not have thought of - appointing a power of attorney.

When Iris Tanon's brother, Sammy Cintron, was in a major accident, their family's life changed.

"That night my son woke up more than ten times," said Norma Alvino Noriega, Tannon and Cintron's mother. She said Cintron is an adult with the mental abilities of a seven-year-old. Luckily, he is back to work now after a long road to recovery.

Months later, Cintron was still shaken from the accident.

"He was spacing out, he was talking to somebody, he was just doing this stuff and then suddenly he would go through the crying spells," explained Tanon.

When Tanon and Alvino Noriega tried to get their loved one the help he needed in a psychiatric hospital, they were told he had to sign himself into the facility. He couldn't because of his impairments.

"Nobody was able to do anything, so we were stuck," explained Tanon. The family learned the hard way they had to have big conversations about life and death.

"Now I know what my mom wants, she know what I want. I actually talk to my kids and let them know what I want," Tanon said.

"I would say less than half of people have any kind of estate plan at all," said Gary Lippow, a Milwaukee estate lawyer.

Lippow said it may be a tough conversation, but it needs to be done.

"To have even the most basic type of will where they can at least nominate a guardian for their children in case something should happen to them. At the very least have a power of attorney to protect themselves," he said.

Lippow said it can be done in just a couple hours, with very little investment. Tanon and her family worked with an attorney.

"$125 could save you so much time, money and effort," she said. You can also follow this link to find free forms that need to be witnessed and notarized, which some banks do for free.

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