Monday, October 15, 2007

Why people need powers of attorney

Wills, Trusts & Estates Law Prof has a post about a subject I have been kicking up for several years now. Read these facts from Temporary Guardianship Awarded to an Injured Marine’s Mother:

John’s father, and Debra Graziano’s estranged husband, Edward Graziano, unsuccessfully tried to appoint an independent guardian for his son. Edward Graziano’s recently retained attorney, Steven Hearn, was granted a continuance to have more time to prepare his case. During that time Hearn plans to investigate Edward Graziano’s concerns that his estranged wife is receiving financial support from the Bollea family. It is not clear whether John Graziano has a will and power of attorney, as is typical for the service members who are deployed overseas.
I had something like happen a few years ago. No power of attorney for an incapacitated spouse, so we filed for guardianship. The client paid about six times what would have been the cost for a power of attorney. The cost might have gone higher as the children from a prior marriage wanted to fight the guardianship but the spouse died.

Who might not wind up in the hospital and unable to take care of their business? Anyone and everyone is the answer. A power of attorney kicks in when you cannot take care of your business and lets another person take care of your business so long as you are incapacitated.

A health care power attorney operates the same way but is limited to medical decisions and care.

I now recommend that anyone making a Will also have a power of attorney, a health care of power of attorney, and a Living Will. I can put together a package of these documents for far, far less than the cost of a guardianship for anyone living in Indiana.

Making a Will is not required but I also do a package of power of attorney, a health care of power of attorney, and a Living Will.