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Horizon Elder Law & Estate Planning Blog

Friday, February 17, 2017

Top 5 reasons to have a power of attorney

A power of attorney is a document that enables you to appoint someone you trust to act on your behalf, if you are unable to do so yourself. The power of attorney can be a powerful tool to assist you in going through life’s uncertainties in the best possible way you can. Drafted poorly, and it can cause more harm than good.  Having an experienced estate-planning lawyer draft your power of attorney documents and walk you through the pros and cons of your decisions can be invaluable.

Many people don’t truly understand the value of having a power of attorney. We could spend several articles addressing this topic, so for now, we’ll talk about the top five reasons to have a power of attorney.

  1. Avoids Conservatorship or Guardianship

Without a comprehensive power of attorney, if someone becomes incapacitated, then someone would have to petition the courts to appoint a guardian or a conservator. The judge would appoint someone to manage the health and financial affairs of the incapacitated person. This process is costly and takes the control of who cares for you away from you. Power of attorney is key in avoiding conservatorship.

  1. Gives you the choice as to who will act for you, rather than a judge

We touched on this a bit a moment ago. When you become incapacitated while you have a power of attorney in effect, you have chosen who you want to handle your financial affairs and make healthcare decisions from you. Without the power of attorney in place, this decision would be left to the courts.

  1. Provides a reason to talk with loved ones about your wishes

Talking about our wishes when we become incapacitated can be uncomfortable, especially with family members. Drafting a power of attorney requires a great deal of though and consideration before drafting. This can provide a prime opportunity to discuss these issues with your family members, particularly anyone that you want to name as your agent.

  1. Prevents questions about your intentions

When someone becomes incapacitated, there are often heated arguments among friends and family about “what mom would have wanted.” While many people may have a pretty good idea about what you might want in the event of incapacitation, there are always cases in which people’s ideas are in conflict. This makes an already difficult situation almost unbearable. With a power of attorney in place, there is no guesswork, as your intentions are clearly laid out on paper.

  1. Protects assets

Your comprehensive power of attorney must include all of the powers required to do effective asset protection planning. While this may result in a long document, it is necessary to ensure all of the powers to carry out proper planning are included.

Talk to an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney

A comprehensive, well-thought-out power of attorney can provide peace of mind for your entire family. Horizon Elder Law & Estate Planning can help you draft a power of attorney that will suit your family’s needs. Call today at 925-224-1185 to schedule a consultation.


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