There are limited powers of attorney, and general powers of attorney. If you grant a limited power of attorney, you can include stipulations with regard to the extent of the power that you are bestowing upon the agent. With a general power of attorney, you would be giving the agent the power to do essentially anything that you could do for yourself.
While you are alive and well, you may never have a reason to grant this power to anyone, and it could be disconcerting to say the least.
As estate planning and elder law attorneys, we advise people about the eventualities of aging. A very big consideration is latter life incapacity. Many people become unable to handle their own affairs late in their lives, with Alzheimer’s disease being a leading cause of incapacity. The disease strikes around four out of every 10 people who have reached the age of 85 according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
The state could appoint someone to act on your behalf if you take no steps to prepare for possible incapacity. This is not a very pleasant prospect, because you would lose control of the decision-making process. To prevent an adult guardianship, you could execute durable powers of attorney.
A regular power of attorney that is not durable would no longer be in effect if the grantor of the device was to become incapacitated. Durable powers of attorney are used for incapacity planning purposes, because they do remain in effect upon the incapacitation of the grantor.
The utilization of durable powers of attorney may make sense to you, but you may have concerns about a loss of control. Since you do not know if or when you will become incapacitated, you would probably want your powers of attorney to go into effect immediately. Under these circumstances, the agents would technically be able to act on your behalf right away.
However, you would not have to tell the agents that you created the documents. Your estate planning attorney could store them for safe keeping, and you could instruct your attorney to inform the agents about the existence of the documents when the time is right.
A springing durable power of attorney could be another option if you are concerned about a loss of control. This type of power of attorney would only go into effect if you become incapacitated.
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We would be glad to assist you if you would like to prepare for end-of-life eventualities. To set up a no obligation consultation, send us a message through this page: Grand Forks ND Incapacity Planning Attorneys.