ABA’s Law and Aging Commission Gets an Award for Clear Writing
Posted May 25, 2012 6:00 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
The ABA’s Commission on Law and Aging has explained how to give someone a health-care power of attorney, and it’s done so in plain language. Its brochure on the process is so clear, in fact, that the commission won a national award.
The Center for Plain Language gave the commission a “ClearMark Award” for clear and concise writing this week in a new category called “Original or New Document, Legal.” According to the judges, the brochure (PDF) discusses complex concepts without being overwhelming, and the writing is not intimidating. The judges also noted strong organization and helpful graphics. Attached to the brochure is a document that can be used to designate a health-care agent.
Here is an example of the writing:
“Your health care agent—or agent, for short—will have the authority to make life and death decisions for you according to your wishes. Make sure that the person you pick is willing to be your agent.
“When you ask someone to be your health care agent, you should think about several things. For example, usually it is best to name one person as your first choice. Then choose at least one back-up agent, in case the first person is not available when needed.”
The brochure then lists categories and types of people who should not be health care agents, and those who should. “Choose someone who can be a strong advocate for you if a doctor or institution is unresponsive,” the brochure advises.