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Thursday, October 28, 2021

Why Your Aging Parent Needs a Durable Power of Attorney in Place

Does your aging parent have a comprehensive estate plan in place? Comprehensive means that, while it likely involves the establishment of a will, there are other critical estate planning documents in place as well. A comprehensive estate plan can be important at any age, but may become even more critical as we age. With age, we tend to become more reliant on others to look out for us and, in some cases, provide us with the care and support we need to stay safe and healthy. If your older parents do not have a comprehensive estate plan in place, do not delay in encouraging them to get this in place as soon as possible. Be sure that it includes a durable power of attorney as this is an extremely important legal document to have in place. We’ll explain more on why here.

Why Your Aging Parent Needs a Durable Power of Attorney in Place

A power of attorney is a legal tool that is established by the principal and grants authority to a named agent to act on behalf of the principal in a certain capacity. The powers granted to the agent under the power of attorney can be broad in scope or very specific. Perhaps you will be unable to make it to a real estate closing because you are scheduled to travel at the time. You can execute a power of attorney empowering an agent to attend the closing in your stead.

When a power of attorney is durable, it means it will survive the incapacitation of the principal. You see, a person must have the capacity to establish a power of attorney. With a regular power of attorney, the principal becoming incapacitated will render the power of attorney ineffective. With a durable power of attorney, the power granted to the agent under the power of attorney will remain ineffective.

So, why is it so important for your aging parent to have a durable power of attorney in place? When a person puts a durable power of attorney in place, they can grant someone else the authority to make critical healthcare decisions on their behalf. They can grant someone else the authority to manage their financial affairs, among other matters. This means that, even in the event that the principal becomes incapacitated due to anything from an injury to another medical condition, there will be a trusted individual, the appointed agent, to manage their affairs.

Without a durable power of attorney in place, a guardianship may need to be established. A court will appoint a guardian when a person is deemed incapacitated and, therefore, unable to manage his or her own affairs. While this can be necessary when there is not a durable power of attorney in place, it is far from an ideal situation. Guardianships are expensive and time consuming. They are monitored by the court and involve a great deal of red tape. Last, but not least, they are incredibly restrictive for the ward, the incapacitated individual for whom the guardianship is established.

Estate Planning Attorney

Make sure your parents have a durable power of attorney in place. For assistance in helping to ensure that your loved ones have critical legal protections in place, Monk Law, is here to help. Contact Monk Law today.


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