Power of Attorney: The importance of documents being in place before you or your loved one becomes incapacitated.
Hi, I’m Kaye DeSelms Dent with Dent Coulson Elder Law, Here with an Elder Law Minute for you. These videos are intended to educate you about the elder care journey, which begins earlier in life than you might think. We hope that you find them useful, and if you have further questions, please call us at Dent Coulson Elder Law.
Today I’m going to explain to you why you can’t get a Power of Attorney over your parent, or anyone else for that matter. A POA is a Power of Attorney, people often call them POA, there are two kinds; Power of Attorney for healthcare, Power of Attorney for finances or for property, and that distinction is the topic of another Elder Law Minute you might look that up. This topic actually relates to a few of our other Elder Law Minutes.
What is a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney document is something that a person executes for them self. It’s a great document because while you are well and you’re not incapacitated, just like you can draft a will, as long as you’re of sound mind, as long of you’re of sound mind you can have a Power of Attorney drawn up and execute that, sign it make it valid, and you get to decide if you even want one in the first place. If you want a Power of Attorney for property if you want a Power of Attorney for healthcare, we have another Elder Law Minute that tells you why you absolutely need both of those and anyone in your life over the age of eighteen does.
The point is, you get to make the decisions. You choose who’s going to make your decisions if you become incapacitated and can’t do things for yourself anymore. This is really important because, it means that no judge is going to appoint a guardian for you ideally, and nobody is going to take away your right to choose who your agent is or who the successor agent is, who is going to take care of things. It maintains your independence It keeps your family from ideally having to go to court. It keeps expenses down and it assures better that your wishes will ultimately be honored even if you become incapacitated and can’t make your own decisions. I can’t stress enough how important it is to have these documents in place. But that’s why many times I have people come to me and say “hey my dad’s got dementia and I need to get Power of Attorney over him”. If dad is too far down that road we can’t do it and we have to go to court for a guardianship which is usually going to cost at least ten times as much as dad having done the Power of Attorney in the first place.
It’s very important to autonomy and independence to have these documents in place, so remember that for kids turning eighteen they’re great birthday gifts, they’re great high school or college graduation gifts even wedding gifts to tell somebody I’m going to write you a check so that you can get your proper documents in place. At Dent Coulson Elder Law, we are here to help but we cannot help you get Power of Attorney over anyone.
Also looking for information about Medicaid and Asset Preservation? Visit these articles:
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Dent-Coulson Elder Law is dedicated to providing families in the St. Louis area with their Elder Law needs. Our practice areas include Asset Preservation Planning, Veterans Benefits, Medicaid Eligibility, Alzheimer’s Planning, Special Needs Planning, Estate Planning and more. We understand the financial challenges you may face as you and your loved ones grow older. At Dent-Coulson Elder Law, our clients’ well-being is our number one priority. For immediate help, call (618) 632-7000 (IL) or (314) 567-9292 (MO), or Contact Us and we will get in touch as soon as possible.