No one likes to think about the possibility of becoming incapacitated. However, the truth is that it can happen to anyone at any time. Incapacity can arise from an accident, an illness, or simply the natural aging process. Regardless of the cause, it is essential to plan for the possibility of incapacity by establishing a durable power of attorney. A durable power of attorney is a legally binding document that enables another person to manage your legal, financial, and business affairs if you are unable to communicate, act or think due to an incapacitating medical condition or event. Here are four reasons why establishing a durable power of attorney (DPOA) is an important step in preparing for incapacity:
Prevent Family Disputes
Without a DPOA in place, family members may have different opinions about decisions, leading to disputes. For example, if you cannot make decisions about your healthcare, family members may disagree about what treatments to pursue, causing tension and conflict. Similarly, if you cannot manage your finances, family members may have different ideas about handling your money and assets, leading to arguments and disputes.
If you set up a DPOA, you can avoid these conflicts by designating someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf. This person can act as a mediator between family members and ensure that your wishes are carried out as you intended. A durable power of attorney can also provide clarity and transparency regarding your wishes, making it less likely that family members will question the decisions made.
Avoid Court Proceedings
If you don’t have a durable power of attorney, a court might have to select a guardian or conservator to take care of your affairs if you cannot do so. This procedure can be expensive, time-consuming, and stressful for your family. By establishing a DPOA, you can eliminate the need for court proceedings and guarantee that your agent has the legal power to manage your affairs without any unnecessary delays.
Protect Your Assets
In the event of incapacity, your financial affairs could become susceptible to exploitation. For instance, if you lack a durable power of attorney, your bills might not get paid, and your assets might be in danger of being mishandled or improperly used. With a DPOA in place, you can safeguard your assets and guarantee that they are responsibly managed and in line with your preferences.
Provide Peace Of Mind To Your Loved Ones
Planning ahead and ensuring that your affairs are in order can alleviate any stress or anxiety your loved ones may feel about managing your affairs if you become incapacitated. Additionally, if you select a trusted and responsible agent, you can help ease the burden on your loved ones and provide them with the support they need during a difficult time.
Creating a DPOA is a critical component of a comprehensive estate plan. It is a proactive measure that can prevent confusion and conflict during incapacity and ensure that your affairs are managed responsibly. Working with an experienced attorney to establish a durable power of attorney will give you peace of mind knowing that your assets and loved ones are protected.