The difference between people who find themselves in difficult situations and those who do not is often simply a matter of preparation. While nobody wants to think that they will someday be unable to make their own decisions, the fact is that this does happen to people who reach an advanced age. In fact, upwards of 50% of people who reach the age of 85 are suffering from dementia with 40% of the oldest old being Alzheimer’s sufferers.
If you do not engage in incapacity planning to prepare for this possibility, interested parties could petition the court to appoint a guardian of its choosing to make decisions in your behalf. Should the court grant the petition, you may then become a ward of the state.
Most people would rather select decision-makers of their own choosing to handle their affairs in the event their incapacitation. But too many simply do not give the matter the appropriate consideration until it is too late.
The wise course of action is to be proactive about incapacity planning. While it is true that you may never become unable to handle your own affairs, you never know what the future holds and it is always better to be safe than to be sorry.
To select agents to act in your behalf in the event of your incapacitation you can execute legal instruments called durable powers of attorney. As most people are aware, a power of attorney is a document that empowers someone to act on your behalf legally.
But, a standard power of attorney does not remain in effect upon the incapacitation of the grantor. Durable powers of attorney on the other hand do indeed remain in effect upon the incapacitation of the grantor. In some jurisdictions you have the option of executing a springing durable power of attorney, and these instruments take effect only in the event of your incapacitation.
If you want to be fully prepared for any and all eventualities, simply take action today and arrange for a consultation with an experienced Atlanta elder law attorney.
Pyke & Associates, P.C. is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.