If you became unable to manage your own financial and medical affairs, then it may be necessary to get a court appointed conservator and guardian. Court involvement can be expensive, time-consuming and go against an individual’s wishes. To significantly reduce the likelihood of court involvement, you should have a power of attorney and healthcare directive.
What is a power of attorney?
A power of attorney gives others the power to effectively manage your financial and legal affairs consistent with your wishes. Powers of attorney are commonly used when a loved one becomes incapacitated. However, powers of attorney are also sometimes used when a person is traveling or becomes physically immobile. Many people believe that if they become incapacitated, their spouse can handle their legal and property affairs. However, this is not the case.
Powers of attorney can help avoid the expense of a court supervised conservatorship.
What is a healthcare directive?
If you are incapacitated, an agent named under a healthcare directive (also known as a living will) can make healthcare decisions on your behalf. Healthcare directive agents may also be given the responsibility for making end of life decisions including cremation and organ donation. Furthermore, healthcare directives can reduce family conflict by providing a clear decision maker.
Having a healthcare directive can lead to enormous peace of mind.