Nobody wants to dwell on the fact that they may eventually lose their mental faculties, but many older individuals develop Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia. This prevents these people from being able to make informed choices about their finances or health care. Therefore, it is important that individuals plan for this eventuality by creating powers of attorney that give family members or friends the ability to make financial and medical choices in the event they become incapacitated.
If powers of attorney are not drawn up, it can be costly and time consuming for individuals to be granted the rights to care for someone and manage their bills and money. Even if someone is a direct family member, they still do not have the legal right to sell someone’s home or determine their medical care without a power of attorney.
People will normally have to petition the court to grant a conservatorship if a power of attorney is not in place. A person can be appointed as the conservator of a person and their finances. This process normally takes at least 30 days, and there are court costs and other fees involved with doing so.
Estate planning allows people to determine how their assets will be distributed after they die, but a power of attorney can also ensure that trusted individuals can make decisions related to those assets while the owner is still alive but unable to do so. There are certain formalities that an attorney will describe and which must be followed in order to ensure that such a document is valid.