Comment: “I’m not letting anybody take control over me! I’m not signing that paper!”
It’s great to keep control of our lives as long as possible, but not at the expense of your wallet, your dignity and your loved ones’ quality of life if you become incompetent. If you have no power of attorney, the only way your loved ones can take care of your needs is to ask the Court be appointed your guardian. That takes months and costs thousands of dollars, and ensures that the Court intrudes on the family for years to come.
A power of attorney isn’t about giving up control; it’s about deciding who will be in control when we can’t. It’s hard for some folks to imagine a world that they don’t control, but sometimes it’s out there waiting. We need to take action now so that doesn’t catch us unawares.
Comment: “I don’t want my power of attorney to be active unless I’m unable to take care of myself.”
The thought that a power of attorney should not be effective unless we are incompetent makes sense at first blush. Why would anyone want to let someone else take over while they’re still able to manage their own affairs? It feels like a surrender of autonomy.
The problem is that it’s hard to prove, to the satisfaction of a lawsuit-averse bank or doctor, that you are incompetent. That means that the person you wanted to be able to help you can’t do so without hiring multiple doctors to evaluate you and determine your competence, which can take weeks. And because you can regain competence, some financial institutions want you re-evaluated periodically to make sure you’re still incompetent. This often ends up in a guardianship proceeding, with its misery and expense.
Attorney Tim Barkley
The Tim Barkley Law Offices
One Park Avenue
P.O. Box 1136
Wills & Trusts | Estate Planning | Probates & Estates
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