INCAPACITY AND GUARDIANSHIP:
An estate plan should contemplate the possibility of incapacity. Avoidance of Guardianship Proceedings in Supreme Court is often easily accomplished with a well thought out estate plan. This includes the preparation of a Durable Power of Attorney and the appointment of a Health Care Proxy. Many estate plans fail to incorporate the possibility of a person’s incapacity and subsequent death. This could come at a great cost to your family, both emotionally and financially.
What is a “Durable Power of Attorney”? The “Durable Power of Attorney” (POA) is one of the most powerful planning tools that an attorney can recommend to a client. When a person (the principal) signs a Durable Power of Attorney, they are giving another person (the agent) the power to act in their place and manage their assets and affairs. The POA remains effective after the principal’s incapacity which means that the agent can act immediately to manage their assets. Without a POA in place, your family would have to initiate a guardianship proceeding to obtain the court’s authorization for such transactions to be handled.
What is a Health Care Proxy? A Health Care Proxy helps to ensure you receive the care you want when you do not have the ability to manage your own health care decisions. You appoint someone you trust, a family member or close friend, to be the proxy to make medical decisions for you when you no longer can. Your proxy can also decide how your wishes apply as your condition changes. Appointing a proxy ensures that providers follow your wishes.