Important Fact:

Durable Powers of Attorney for Health and Finance are an important part of your overall estate plan. Used in conjunction with a Revocable Living Trust, Durable Powers of Attorneys substantially eliminate the need for conservatorships.

medical power of attorney

Planning ahead now

Durable Powers of Attorney are legal documents authorizing a person of your choosing to make health and financial decisions for you, or take action on your behalf, should you become unable to do so for yourself due to injury, illness, or diminished capacity.

MAIN PURPOSE:

To avoid a conservatorship, i.e., a court-appointed guardian:

a. Between spouses should one become incapacitated.
b. For the surviving spouse, if unable to act alone due to incapacity.

REASONS TO AVOID CONSERVATORSHIP:

  • COST:
    Conservatorships can cost between $5,000 to $10,000 in legal fees to set up. In addition, there will probably be ongoing legal and/or accounting fees to maintain financial records required by the court.

  • LOSS OF CONTROL:
    The court, not you, will decide who will make decisions for you. You cannot be sure that the court will choose your spouse, other family member or even someone you know. The court, not your family, now controls your life. Everything must be done according to the guidelines of the court. This relationship with the court will continue for the rest of your life or until the unlikely event that you are declared competent.

ADVANTAGES OF HAVING DURABLE POWERS OF ATTORNEY:

1. A person of your choosing will handle your health and financial affairs if necessary. This is usually your spouse or one of your children, but can be anyone you choose.

2. Powers of Attorney allow you to keep your affairs in the family and out of the courts and thereby save time and expense.

3. The Durable Power of Attorney for Health will provide for, if you desire, the “right to die” provision, which states that your life will not be prolonged artificially. Your physician should be given a copy of your Durable Power of Attorney for Health so that he or she will have instructions as to how to proceed in the event of a serious or terminal accident or illness.


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