Power of Attorneys
What will happen to you and your “stuff” if you become sick or disabled?
Durable Power of Attorney
If you don’t have your own plan in place, the State has a set of rules to determine the answer to the above questions. The State’s answer is to have a Guardian appointed to determine what happens to you, and a Conservator appointed to determine what happens to your belongings. This is a judicial process that requires, just to begin, a Petition the Court, a background screening of the proposed Guardian and Conservator and everyone who lives with him or her, and notification to all your relatives and interested persons.
The process will cost at least $3,000 (if it is uncontested and everyone is in agreement) and sometimes upwards of $50,000 (if it turns into a fight). Once the Guardian and Conservator is appointed, he or she is required to provide the Court with an inventory of everything you own, and obtain a Court-approved budget about how YOUR funds will be spent, where you will live, and from whom you will receive care. Once the budget is approved, if you need anything not included, the Conservator will have to petition the Court to ask for permission to use additional funds (i.e. the court must approve the right for your Conservator to purchase a new coat for you when needed if it was not already included on your approved budget). Not only is the ongoing administration of your Guardianship/Conservatorship an invasion of privacy and an additional burden to the person willing to provide for your care, it provides an ongoing source of income to attorneys and the State, which comes out of YOUR ESTATE.
An alternative to the State’s solution of Guardianship/Conservatorship is to plan ahead with appropriate Powers of Attorney. If you have someone you trust, you can empower them to take care of your needs without having to ask for the Court’s permission and scrutiny. The appropriate Powers of Attorney lets youdecide who serves as your attorney in fact, under what circumstances, and how much authority he or she is given.
Not only do the Powers of Attorney let you decide the rules and keep some control over what happens if you become incapacitated or disabled, the basic Powers of Attorney can be drafted to meet your needs for about $300. For most people, this seems like a better option than giving up control and paying ten times the price after you can’t have a say in the matter.
For more information, contact the Midwest Elder Law Firm today at 573-445-4755 or send us a message.
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Last Will & Testament
Powers of Attorney
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