People of all walk of life struggle with the decision as to whether or not they need a power of attorney – be it a durable power of attorney or a medical power of attorney. Some people make this decision when creating a will or when creating a trust, while others this is an unnecessary part of estate planning.
It is a good idea to create a durable power of attorney, particularly for those holding ownership over property and income assets. If you are suffering from an illness, disease or other health concerns, which may compromise your decision making abilities, having a durable power of attorney in place to make your financial decisions in your place, is important.
Even when you are incapacitated, your bills still require payment and banks deposits still need to occur. In addition to these tasks, paperwork to include benefits and insurance must be handled when you are not able to do so on your own. Creating an agent (your named durable power of attorney) must be someone you choose, as well as someone you trust with handling these aspects of your estate. If you feel forced into a decision, confer with your estate planning attorney as to how to solve this problem.
In addition to the financial matters listed above, there are other aspects a durable power of attorney must give attention to with regards to your estate. This includes such tasks as small business management, any necessary repairs to property (or properties) that arise, and investment management.
Do not wait too long to make these decisions because, if you become incapacitated, it is up to a judge to name a person who will handle everything a durable power of attorney would manage. In some states, this is called conservatorship or guardianship. The process of this type of appointment is costly and avoidable. These proceedings are not only embarrassing for you, but for all the rest of the parties involved as well, because a public announcement is made that you are unable to handle your personal and financial affairs.
As you can see, it is highly advisable that you sign on a durable power of attorney prior to incapacitation; otherwise you will experience risky and uncomfortable situations. This type of asset protection planning is beneficial to you, as well as your relatives because there will be no question on the table as to is going to handle what.