Southwest Florida

Why Would I Need a Durable Power of Attorney?

Power of Attorney
In most cases, a comprehensive Durable Power of Attorney will avoid the need for guardianship.

There are several reasons you may want to have a Durable Power of Attorney.

  1. Choose Who Can Make the Decisions on Your Behalf. If you’ve signed a Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) and later become incapacitated and are unable to make decisions, the agent you named in your DPOA can step in on your behalf.
  2. Avoid Guardianship. If you fail to sign a comprehensive Durable Power of Attorney before you become incapacitated, Florida has only one option for you whether you’re married or not – guardianship court. Without a Durable Power of Attorney, loved ones will need to petition the Probate Court to declare you incompetent and have the judge appoint a guardian or a conservator to handle your affairs. The judge will decide who will manage your financial, legal,  and tax matters, and it may not be someone you would have chosen. The court will also monitor the situation for as long as you need a guardian. This can be expensive, and all of this is paid out of your assets.
  3. You Can Discuss Your Wishes. Who you appoint as your agent is an extremely important decision. When you decide to sign a Durable Power of Attorney, it offers you the chance to discuss your wishes and the expectations with your family and the people you’ve named as your agent (and backup agents) in your DPOA.
  4. Avoid Delays. With a comprehensive Durable Power of Attorney, all the powers required to do effective tax and Medicaid planning are included. Note: if a DPOA doesn’t include the specific power, it can reduce the authority of the agent and may lead to significant setbacks.

Contact a qualified estate planning attorney today to discuss creating your Durable Power of Attorney.

Other articles you may find interesting:

What’s a Restatement of a Trust?

Pet Trust FAQs: For the Love of Harley

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