A durable power of attorney is a very important estate planning tool. It allows someone you choose to handle some or all of your affairs, should you become unable to do so yourself. You, the person signing the legal instrument, is known as the “principal.” The person you authorize to act on your behalf is called the “agent” or the “attorney-in-fact.” A durable power of attorney is a specific type of power of attorney. Unlike a regular power of attorney, a “durable” power of attorney will remain in effect even after you become incapacitated. This makes a durable power of attorney a very “powerful” tool.
You get to choose who will act on your behalf.
One important benefit of executing a durable power of attorney is that you can choose now who you want to make decisions on your behalf in the future. If you do not choose now, a court will choose for you. This means you can choose someone you trust and that person can step right into your shoes without being subjected to a lengthy court proceeding. Your trusted agent can start making the important financial and/or healthcare decisions required as soon as necessary. Without a durable power of attorney, the court will appoint a guardian or conservator, which is an expensive process. Not only must a petition be filed with the court, but the court continues to monitor the guardian or conservator for as long as they are required. Those costs add up.
You can discuss how you want your affairs handled with your agent ahead of time.
Another benefit of creating a durable power of attorney is that you have the opportunity to discuss your expectations with your family members and your chosen agent now, while you are still in a position to do so. The more comprehensive you make your durable power of attorney, the better it will be for your agent and your family when the time comes. An important consideration when drafting a durable power of attorney is how your needs may change as you age. For instance, the possible need for long-term care and government benefits should be addressed in the terms of your durable power of attorney.
It eliminates the inevitable disagreements amongst family members regarding your care.
A durable power of attorney reduces the confusion and questions regarding your intentions for the future. A well-drafted power of attorney will eliminate the needless battles between your family members regarding healthcare and financial decisions. Instead, the legal document becomes the best evidence of your intent, dispelling family disputes.
Clearly, a durable power of attorney can provide peace of mind for you and your family in the future. It can lessen the burden on your family who would, otherwise need to file a petition with the court just to be able to perform basic tasks on your behalf. Drafting this important estate planning tool in advance, will be a great comfort to you and your family.
Call us at 310-337-7696 or contact us online today for a free consultation regarding durable power of attorney in Los Angeles.
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