Do I Really Need a Durable Power of Attorney?
A Durable Power of Attorney is allowable under Massachusetts law in an effort to ease the management of your assets in the event of your incapacity. Think about what your incapacity will look like and how it will affect your family. Have you become ill? Did you suffer a traumatic accident? Have you contracted an incurable disease? Will you follow up with some form of rehabilitation once your acute care is complete?
Exactly how much stress should your family be under at one time? Should they also need to participate in the arduous process of petitioning the probate court for conservatorship over your assets? Do you want that form of public disclosure of your medical and financial circumstances?
If you have present capacity to execute a Durable Power of Attorney, then the better advice is usually to do so. Working with an attorney to complete a durable power of attorney, naming an agent to manage your affairs if you become disabled may be the best choice you make on behalf of yourself and your family.
Some features of a valuable Durable Power of Attorney will include, long term care planning, asset transfers, tax considerations, the ability to apply for government benefits such as Social Security or MassHealth, possible nursing home or assisted living placement, the ability to establish a trust and fund the trust, manage your personal finances, make any lifetime gifts (in keeping with your estate plans), nominate a guardian or conservator, so that your choice is heard just in case these are ever needed, plus much, much more. (An agent acting under a Durable Power of Attorney cannot make a will for you, however.)
Just don’t go it alone and draft your own or rip one off the internet. A few of these have found their way into the office through potential clients and we rather quickly pointed out the obvious flaws and uselessness, and sometimes dangerousness, of these documents.
A properly drafted and executed Durable Power of Attorney is an ideal way to avoid court involvement, including public disclosure of your personal circumstances. Feel free to contact the office here for assistance with your Durable Power of Attorney.