As we grow older and perhaps lose a spouse, children, other family members or even friends are often called on to help with financial and other decisions. In more drastic instances a legal guardian may have to be appointed by a Court, often causing unneeded expense and family stress.
Just putting other persons on an elderly person’s accounts and property titles puts the elderly person’s estate at risk of loss, even by an honest and well-intentioned helper, and risks lawsuits about intentions after death. A better alternative is to have Durable Power of Attorney for Property and Health Care and other estate planning documents prepared for your parent or other person in need. This can be done in a calm environment and before problems or any emergency situations arise. Clear directions can be provided, including when and how the holder of the Power of Attorney can act and, so long as the signer remains competent, she can change her mind or substitute another person as her agent at any time. The cost of the preparation is not substantial, but the relief of knowing you have protected and planned for a parent is substantial.
In general, an agent under a power of attorney can have the same powers as a guardian appointed by the Court, without the supervision, accountability or cost, but still having the fiduciary duty to protect signer.
The lawyers of Brooks, Tarulis & Tibble, LLC can assist you or your family in preparing a Power of Attorney for Property or Health Care and other life and estate planning documents. Please call with any questions.