Incapacity is defined, from a legal standpoint, as the inability to make sound decisions regarding one’s personal or financial affairs. Failing to plan for the possibility of incapacity in advance can create significant problems for seniors and their loved ones, particularly with regard to managing assets and medical care. This is why we recommend that all of our clients have us design durable powers of attorney for medical care and finances. Here are some of the most important reasons to have your own durable powers of attorney.
If you become incapacitated, you are able to choose the person who makes financial and medical decisions on your behalf rather than the court.
Without powers of attorney, the court will appoint someone to manage your financial affairs and medical care in the event of incapacity. The person named by the court could very well be someone you would never have wanted to make important decisions on your behalf. In addition, the court processes involved are expensive, time-consuming and stressful for members of your family.
With durable powers of attorney, you are able to name a person (or persons) you know and trust to make crucial medical and financial decisions on your behalf. You have the power to decide what types of decisions your agent can make. That is, you determine how much authority your agent will have over your affairs. The agent’s authority can be rather broad or extremely limited—the decision is yours. You can also choose to name multiple agents and mandate that they must work together, or if you prefer, you can authorize them to work independently. It is always a good idea to name alternate agents in case your first choice is unable to serve due to illness or other reasons.
Durable powers of attorney help prevent disputes about your wishes.
You have undoubtedly heard about expensive and highly emotional court battles over what a person “would have wanted” before he or she became incapacitated. With properly designed durable powers of attorney, together with other advance directives, you can help ensure that your wishes regarding financial and medical matters will be carried out.
Durable powers of attorney provide you and your family with greater peace of mind.
With durable powers of attorney and other advance directives in place, you will enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing your wishes regarding the management of your assets and medical care will be honored. In addition, your family will be spared the stress of making important decisions on your behalf without knowing what you would have wanted.