Estate planning is often thought of as an exercise in facilitating the distribution of monetary resources after you die. Without question, this is certainly a large part of the equation. However, there are other things to take into consideration. With this in mind, we would like to look at the value of the legal device called a durable power of attorney.
It is not the most pleasant contingency to consider, but many elders do become incapacitated before passing away. There are various causes of incapacity, and some of them are physical. There are also those who become mentally incapable of handling their own affairs.
Alzheimer’s disease is a leading culprit. If you want to be prepared for the eventualities of aging, you may want to visit the Alzheimer’s Association website. There is a lot of useful information on the site. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, one out of every eight seniors citizens has contracted Alzheimer’s disease.
The likelihood of contracting the disease increases as you get older. Over 40 percent of people who are at least 85 suffer from Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s causes dementia, and people who are suffering from dementia are typically going to become unable to handle their own affairs.
If you do not take steps in advance to name your own hand-picked decision-maker, the state could be petitioned to appoint a guardian to act on your behalf should you become incapacitated. This is a useful safeguard on the one hand, but there are drawbacks that can accompany a guardianship proceeding.
One of them is the simple fact that the court may appoint someone that you never would have approved of on your own when you were fully capable of making your own decisions. There can also be disagreements among your loved ones during a guardianship proceeding with regard to the appropriate course of action.
Durable Power of Attorney
When you execute a durable power of attorney, you can prevent a guardianship proceeding. The creator of the durable power of attorney is called the grantor or principal. As the grantor, you name an agent or attorney-in-fact who will be empowered to handle your financial affairs in the event of your incapacitation.
You want to make sure that you use a durable power of attorney, because a standard power of attorney that is not specifically designated as durable would not remain in effect upon the incapacitation of the grantor.
When you look at the statistics, you can see that incapacity is very common among elder Americans. You should certainly make sure that you execute a durable power of attorney so that you have a decision-maker in place who is empowered to act on your behalf if it becomes necessary.