General Durable Power of Attorney - The Most Important Tool in One's Estate Planning Arsenal
When someone hears or mentions the term, estate planning, a Will is usually the first thing that comes to mind. While a will is an important part of a comprehensive estate plan, a power of attorney is generally the most important document one can have in place.
Too many times, I have encountered situations where I meet with a client and his or her loved one hasn't executed a power of attorney. Without having such a document in place, one can be left without a decision-maker for his or her finances. Furthermore, that loved one is now forced to petition to the probate court to become his or her loved one's conservator. This is an expensive and time consuming process. Not only that but once the probate court is involved, that person's business is public record and can be accessed by almost anyone. Lastly, a probate court judge has the responsibility of appointing someone to act as the Conservator.
All this can be avoided by executing a General Durable Power of Attorney. This is a document that allows an individual (known as the "principal") to choose an agent (the "attorney-in-fact") to handle his or her financial affairs should the principal become incapacitated. Executing a power of attorney is very inexpensive and could save your loved ones the time, money and frustration associated with probate court proceedings.
As I always like to say, "Plan in advance to give your loved ones a chance or procrastinate and leave it up to the state!
For more information, please visit my website: www.daviaulaw.com, e-mail me ([email protected]) or call me at (508) 797-3010.