Incapacity planning is important if you want to be comprehensively prepared for the future. When you decide to include an incapacity planning component within your broader estate plan you may want to consider the execution of a durable power of attorney.
What Are the Advantages?
A power of attorney is used to name someone else who has the legal right to act in your behalf. There are limited powers of attorney, and general powers of attorney.
A limited power of attorney is somewhat self-explanatory. It allows someone to make decisions in your behalf on a limited basis. To provide an example, someone may be able to sign documents for you while you are out of the country for two months. When you return, the power of attorney would expire.
A general power of attorney would give the agent or attorney-in-fact that you choose the ability to do anything that you can do for an indefinite period of time.
If a power of attorney is not designated as durable, it would no longer be effective if the person executing the power of attorney was to become incapacitated. This is why durable powers of attorney are used in the field of estate planning.
When you have a durable power of attorney in place, a decision-maker of your own choosing will be able to step in to handle your affairs in the event of your incapacitation.
What would happen if you were to become incapacitated without executing a durable power of attorney? Under these circumstances interested parties could petition the court to appoint a guardian to manage your affairs.
Would you want the state to decide who will be handling your affairs in the event of your incapacitation, or would you like to be the one making this decision? This is a question that you must ask yourself if you are currently going through life without planning for the possibility of incapacity.
Your first fear may be that the court could appoint someone that you would have never approved of when you were of sound mind. This is true, but other difficulties can arise as well. One of them is the possibility of family members disagreeing with regard to the selection of a guardian. Infighting could be the result.
You have the power to prevent acrimony among your loved ones by executing a durable power of attorney. In addition to the matter of keeping the peace, you can also be certain that your affairs will be handled by someone that you personally approve of if you become incapacitated late in your life.
If you are interested in taking action to execute a durable power of attorney, contact our firm to schedule a free consultation.