You are probably aware of the fact that a power of attorney is a legal device that you can use to empower an agent or attorney-in-fact to act on your behalf in a legally binding manner. These documents are used for various different purposes, but in our area of the law, a certain type of power of attorney is used to account for incapacity.
Many elders become unable to handle their own affairs late in their lives. This can seem like something that will never happen to you, especially if you have been relatively healthy over the years.
In reality, it is likely that you will live until you are at least 85 if you are fortunate enough to celebrate your 67th birthday. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 45 percent of people who have reached the age of 85 are suffering from the disease. Those who have contracted Alzheimer’s disease are typically going to suffer from dementia, a condition that can rob you of your decision-making capabilities.
If you do nothing to prepare for incapacity, the state could step in and decide who will act for you. To avoid a guardianship proceeding, you could execute durable powers of attorney. In these documents, you would name agents to act on your behalf in the event of your incapacitation. We are using the plural because you can name a financial decision-maker through the execution of a durable financial power of attorney, and you can add a durable power of attorney for health care to empower someone to make medical decisions on your behalf.
A durable power of attorney will remain in effect even if you become incapacitated, so the “durable” designation is important.
It is possible to create a limited power of attorney that would be in effect for a limited period of time. If you were to create a limited power of attorney, it would terminate whenever you want to revoke the power.
You would probably want your durable powers of attorney to remain in place throughout the entirety of your life because you do not know if or when you will become incapacitated. Any power of attorney will terminate upon the death of the grantor.
Attend a Free Estate Planning Workshop
We have addressed one simple estate planning question in this blog post, but there is a great deal to digest if you want to be fully prepared. Our firm is very proactive about education, and we offer estate planning workshops to people in the greater Fort Myers/Naples area on an ongoing basis.
The workshops are free to attend, but they fill up fast, so we do ask that you register in advance. Click the following link to obtain more details and registration information: Free Estate Planning Workshops.