This general type of planning can be simplified and consolidated into two well drafted documents: a financial power of attorney and a health care power of attorney and living will (collectively known as Advance Directives). Carefully crafted health care and financial powers of attorney will provide your agent with the authority and guidance to carry out your wishes should you become incapacitated or otherwise unable to make health care decisions or manage your finances alone.
Without these basic and important documents families are forced to expend your hard earned savings to obtain guardianship over you. It is an expensive, time consuming and and emotionally challenging process. It may be very upsetting to you and other family members to have to prove to a probate court judge that you no longer have the capacity to make reasonable and appropriate medical and financial decisions through court room testimony describing dangerous or illogical behaviors you may be exhibiting. This can often be avoided with health care and financial powers of attorney in place.
In some cases we represent elders who are facing guardianship hearings. While in others we represent family members seeking guardianships over an elder parent or sibling. The most common scenario is a son or daughter who is a parent’s financial or health care agent that lacks sufficient authority to make certain decisions for the parents due to outdated health care and financial powers of attorney. The result is a guardianship action to obtain all of the powers necessary to handle the parent’s financial and/or medical affairs. With proper planning and updated disability documents, the likelihood of a future guardianship proceeding can be dramatically reduced.