It’s critical to include a Durable Power of Attorney for Finance, Living Will, Medical Power of Attorney/Designation of Patient Advocate, Organ Donation, & HIPAA Authorizations in your plans.
To illustrate this point, I'll tell you a story about a couple I once represented, let's call them John and Mary.
John and his wife Mary planned carefully, and saved and invested wisely for their retirement over the years.
They had drawn up two "internet" Wills, which left everything to each other, and were always up to date.
Unfortunately, John developed Alzheimer’s.
As his condition worsened, Mary needed to sell some of their investments.
But John was no longer able to conduct business, and Mary soon learned she couldn’t sign for him – only a court appointed guardian or "attorney-in-fact" could.
It was hard enough dealing with John’s situation, but now Mary also had to deal with the court.
She didn’t know the court would stay involved to “protect” John’s share of the proceeds.
She had to keep detailed records of everything – the court insisted upon approving all expenses and the sale of assets.
There is a high likelihood that a person will become disabled before they die.
Court mandated guardianships are expensive, stressful, and time consuming.
Oftentimes, with proper planning and forethought, guardianships can be avoided altogether with a well-thought Estate Plan.