Setting these up will save you money and peace of mind
Filed in Estate Planning, Medicaid & Medicare, on July 18, 2017
What happens when you don’t have a power of attorney for health or property in place and you have an accident or illness that renders you unable to communicate or incompetent to make sound decisions? You totally lose control over who makes these decisions for you and are left with whoever a court appoints as your guardian. Additionally, you or your family could be forced to pay for a guardianship court proceeding so that someone can be appointed to make these decisions. The family could fight over who makes these decisions for you, which can be extremely costly. If there is an emergency situation and decisions need to be made immediately, you could find yourself in “limbo” with no one having the authority to make financial and healthcare decisions until the slow court system appoints a guardian for you.
A simple way to avoid this situation is to appoint an agent for healthcare and financial (property) decisions. Don’t worry, you are not signing your life away. In fact, you can place specific limitations on the agent you chose in terms of these decisions. If you are apprehensive about selecting an agent to make healthcare decisions for you because you believe your family members may be to quick to “pull the plug,” you can make the agent’s authority dependent on your doctor saying you can’t make decisions. If you think your agent will skip town for a vacation in Tahiti because he or she has control over your property, again, you can make the agent’s authority dependent on the doctor’s opinion that you are no longer able to make financial decisions.
While you have the ability to make these decisions yourself, execute powers of attorney for healthcare and property. You will be happier and your family will appreciate it as well.