Incapacity Planning FAQ: What Is the Correct Power of Attorney?
A comprehensive, properly constructed estate plan will account for end-of-life issues. While incapacity planning can seem like something that happens to a limited number of people, when you examine the facts, see that a very significant percentage of senior citizens become unable to handle all of their own decision making eventually.
Studies have found that people in the United States are living longer and longer lives. The Social Security Administration website has a life expectancy calculator that you can use when you are evaluating your future needs. If you plug in the numbers, you see that a person who is reaching the age of 67 today has a life expectancy of at least 85 years.
Many people who reach their mid-eighties and beyond do in fact become unable to make sound decisions on their own. Though there are numerous different culprits, Alzheimer’s disease is a leading threat. This disease strikes nearly half of people who have reached the age of 85 according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Who would make decisions on your behalf if you were to become unable to make them on your own? Our practice is in Texas, and if you do nothing to prepare for incapacity in our state, a guardian could be appointed to handle your decision-making.
Most people would prefer to choose their own representatives. With the proper planning, this could be done. The document that is typically utilized is called a durable power of attorney.
A power of attorney that is not specifically designated as durable would no longer be in effect upon the incapacitation of the grantor. Durable powers of attorney do stay in effect, so this is the type of power of attorney that you would want to use to empower people to act on your behalf if you become incapacitated.
There are different types of decisions that could present themselves, so you could execute two different powers of attorney. You could use a durable financial power of attorney to name someone to handle your finances, and you could add a durable power of attorney for health care to name a medical decision maker.
Springing durable powers of attorney can also be utilized in some areas. This type of device would “spring” into effect if you were to become incapacitated, but the agent that you choose would not be able to act for you until and unless you do in fact become incapacitated.
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If you are not currently prepared for latter life incapacity, action is required. We would be glad to help you create your durable powers of attorney as part of a comprehensive, custom crafted estate plan.
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