A power of attorney allows you to put someone in charge of managing your money or property and making decisions on your behalf in case something happens to you. If you create a power of attorney as part of an incapacity plan, you do not have to worry about the court having to appoint someone to manage your affairs for you if you become unable to speak or act on your own because of physical or mental illness or infirmity.
Your family will also be in a much better position if you name a power of attorney because they won’t have to go to court to get a guardian or conservator named and they will not have to wonder about who you would have chosen or what your preferences would have been since you will be the one to decide who acts for you. And, because there is no delay in having a guardian or conservator named, your assets can often be better protected from loss in case of incapacity if you have a power of attorney.
Despite these advantages, however, there are also some big disadvantages to a power of attorney as well. Zimmer Law Firm can help you to understand the downsides of creating a power of attorney and can provide you with advice on other tools you can use to plan for incapacity. You should give us a call to find out more about the assistance we can offer. You can also read on to find out some top downsides of using a power of attorney as a legal tool.
A Power of Attorney Could Leave You Vulnerable to Abuse
When you have designated an agent to act for you, that person gets a lot of authority over your money, property, and decision-making. The agent you select has a fiduciary duty to act in your best interests, but there is essentially limited or no oversight unless it becomes clear that the agent is abusing his or her authority and legal action is taken. Often, this does not happen — at least not unless or until abuse of power becomes egregious. Because of the potential that an agent could take advantage of you or steal from you, it is very important that you select the right person to act as your agent.
If You Make Mistakes In Its Creation, Your Power Of Attorney Won’t Grant the Expected Authority
If you do not make a legal valid power of attorney that gives an agent authority to manage affairs and make the right type of decisions, you could assume that you have someone to act for you when you really do not. You also need to make sure your power of attorney is a durable one if you want it to remain in effect in case of incapacity — which is exactly the time when most people need it to be in place.
A Power Of Attorney Doesn’t Address What Happens to Assets After Your Death
A power of attorney ends at your death, so it does not do anything to protect your wealth after you are gone or to facilitate the timely transfer of assets to loved ones. A revocable living trust could allow someone to manage your wealth during your life in case of your incapacity, and could also allow assets to pass in a timely manner through the trust administration process instead of the longer and costlier probate process.
Getting Help from an Incapacity Planning Lawyer
Zimmer Law Firm will help you with the creation of a power of attorney and will provide assistance with other key legal issues related to incapacity planning. We can also help you to explore other tools you may wish to use to protect your family and assets in case of illness or injury.
To find out more about how our firm can assist you, join us for a free seminar. You can also give us a call at 513-721-1513 to get personalized advice on making your incapacity plan.