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Who needs durable powers of attorney?

On Behalf of | Jul 11, 2024 | Durable Power of Attorney |

Adults can create estate plans that address a variety of risk factors. Many people focus on death and the need to protect their families when they can no longer provide direct support. They appoint guardians for their children in a will and distribute property either using a will or a trust.

Many people also create documents that can protect them if they have medical challenges in the future. Particularly as people age, they may begin to consider the possibility of medical incapacitation. Watching a parent struggle with Alzheimer’s disease or experiencing medical challenges may leave people painfully aware of how vulnerable they actually are.

A single brain injury or a progressive illness is all it takes to render someone incapable of living independently. Their assets could be at risk, and they may not be able to control their own medical care. Durable powers of attorney are particularly useful estate planning tools for individuals concerned about the possibility of long-term or permanent incapacity.

Why do people decide to draft durable powers of attorney?

Durable powers of attorney are different from other power of attorney document because of the language they include. Durable power of attorney documents specifically retain their authority in scenarios that cause permanent incapacitation.

Anytime someone might be at risk of guardianship, durable powers of attorney can protect them. Standard power of attorney can lose their authority when someone becomes permanently incapacitated. When an adult drafts durable powers of attorney, they plan for that exact scenario.

They can essentially choose their own guardian before they need support. That way, they aren’t at the mercy of whoever might choose to pursue a guardianship. The courts can award guardianship to estranged family members or even professional caregivers in some cases. Most people prefer to choose who has authority over their affairs.

Those with a family history of degenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, those preparing for retirement and those who have struggled with chronic health conditions often desire the protection of durable powers of attorney. Realistically, anyone might benefit from creating durable powers of attorney, as no one ever knows when they might sustain a severe traumatic injury or develop a debilitating medical condition.

Adding a variety of different documents to an estate plan can give someone the best degree of protection possible, especially for those concerned about their advanced age or health challenges. Durable powers of attorney can be useful for anyone concerned about the eventual loss of their legal authority.


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