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How a durable power of attorney protects you as you age

On Behalf of | May 5, 2022 | Estate Planning |

As you grow older, you may find yourself needing to revisit your estate plan. The plans you first created in your 20s or 30s may no longer effectively protect you or the people you love. Your family circumstances may change, and you may acquire or get rid of certain property. You will need to revisit your estate plan to add or remove beneficiaries and property as your situation changes.

In addition to updating your will, you may want to consider adding other documents to your estate plan. Those facing the reality of advanced age and long-term care may recognize the value of planning for future medical issues, not just death.

Durable powers of attorney are some of the most important protective documents that you could execute. Especially if you have health concerns or certain age-related conditions, like Alzheimer’s disease, run in your family, creating a durable power of attorney now could protect you when you are at your most vulnerable point later in life.

 A durable power of attorney persists beyond your incapacitation

Most powers of attorney, when properly worded and executed, can be durable legal documents. The word durable in this scenario means that the powers of attorney retain their legal authority even when the person who drafted those documents loses their testamentary capacity.

Whether due to extended periods of unconsciousness or cognitive decline, a lack of mental capacity prevents someone from controlling their own finances and health care. If you create durable powers of attorney before reaching that point, you are the one who has the final say in the management of your finances and your health care.

 You can choose your own guardian

When someone can no longer manage their own legal and financial matters, the courts may appoint a guardian to handle their affairs.

The guardian the courts name could be your child who lives closest, even if you have a bad relationship with them. The guardian could also be a professional who has no emotional attachment to you or your family whatsoever.

When you take the time to create durable powers of attorney, you prevent a future guardianship that disempowers you and names someone to manage your affairs without consideration of your preferences.

Adding the right documents to your estate plan now will give you the most protection and peace of mind as you grow older.