There are far more reasons to put a power of attorney in place than we can possibly cover in this blog, but we will go over a few of the most compelling benefits a person can derive from these legal documents. A Texas power of attorney lawyer can talk with you about a healthcare power of attorney and a durable power of attorney for financial matters.
Having a Power of Attorney Is Like Buying Insurance
We buy insurance so that, when things go wrong, we can minimize the financial impact of the event and reduce the burden on our loved ones. Having a durable power of attorney for financial decisions is similar.
A durable power of attorney remains in effect after the person who signed it becomes incapacitated. The paper names someone to take care of your financial affairs so that negative consequences do not arise from bills not getting paid, rental property getting neglected, and your business not being managed.
Without a financial power of attorney already in place, if you become incapacitated from an illness or injury, your loved ones would have to go to court and ask a judge to empower one of them to act on your behalf, serving as your agent or attorney-in-fact.
In a medical crisis, your family should not have to deal with the stress or expense of going to court. If there is disagreement about who will get appointed by the judge, the matter might have to go to trial, which can cost a great deal of money and delay the situation for months.
A Durable Financial Power of Attorney Goes into Effect When You Become Incapacitated
In other words, you will not have the physical or mental ability to make decisions for yourself or communicate them. You will be unable to tell the court who you want to handle your finances. The only way to have control over who serves as your agent or attorney-in-fact is to set up a durable power of attorney ahead of time.
A Durable Power of Attorney is Less Involved and Expensive than a Guardianship
As Ben Franklin arguably said, An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If you do not have a power of attorney in place when you become incapacitated, your family cannot go to court and ask the judge to order a power of attorney for you. Your loved ones will have to go through a guardianship lawsuit in which the judge declares you incompetent and appoints a guardian over your person and a guardian over your assets.
The judge will have to hold hearings, review the evidence of your incapacity, and determine who would be the appropriate guardian. If you had gotten a durable power of attorney in place, instead, your family would not have this expense or stress of going to court, and you would not have a legal declaration of incapacity to deal with if you regained the ability to make and communicate your decisions.
Healthcare Powers of Attorney
A healthcare power of attorney functions in much the same way as a financial power of attorney, but for medical decisions. You designate someone you would want to make your healthcare decisions for you if you cannot make or communicate your wishes at that time.
Your Texas estate planning attorney can recommend additional documents you will need, like a medical records authorization for the medical decision-maker and a living will to address end-of-life care issues. Reach out to our office today for help with your case.