What Happens If You Become Incapacitated Without A Durable Power Of Attorney
A General Durable Power Of Attorney is an estate planning document that is meant to be in place for if you become incapacitated or disabled and are no longer able to speak for yourself or carry on your financial affairs. The durable nature of the power of the attorney comes into play when a trusted person that you name in the document steps into place for you to manage your assets and handle your affairs for you until you recover or for the rest of your life. What happens if you do not have this important document in place and you become disabled or incapacitated and are no longer able to act on your own behalf?
If you become incapacitated in most states without a General Durable Power Of Attorney in place for yourself then the Probate Court in your county steps in and decides who would be the person to handle your affairs that would have named in your power of attorney if would have properly made one. The probate court in your county of residence most likely must appoint both a Guardian and Conservator for you. A Guardian is appointed to look after your health and well-being and make decisions that are in your best interest of your person. A Conservator is appointed by the Probate Court to look after your money and make sure that you are not being taken advantage of financially. The conservator must file strict accounting reports with the Probate Court and will most likely have to post a bond in case any money is mishandled. This process can be extremely costly and drain your assets before you get to enjoy them again after you regain capacity or pass them on to your loved ones.
A General Durable Power Of Attorney eliminates the need to appoint a Guardian and Conservator as a trusted person is named and given the powers to carry out your needs if you become incapacitated. This document allows you to be in control of your own affairs through anther instead of the choice being out of your hands and made by a government agency at a much greater cost of time and money. While it is not pleasant to think of yourself being incapacitated at any point in your life, it is a reality that most people do not die right away and go through some period of disability. Protect yourself by planning ahead.