General Durable Powers of Attorney are wonderful to have in place in the event that you become incapacitated. Having this simple document ready to go is far better than having to go through the long and complicated guardianship process so that someone else can handle your financial affairs for you when you are unable to do so. However, a General Durable Power of Attorney is not necessarily a magic solution. Just getting the document is not enough.
A General Durable Power of Attorney creates a fiduciary relationship between the principal and the person designated to be the attorney-in-fact. The latter is required by law to always act in the interests of the former. If for any reason, it is believed that has not happened, then litigation can occur. This is becoming an increasing issue as General Durable Powers of Attorney become increasingly more popular.
The real problem is that too many people do not think carefully enough about who they should designate to act as their attorney-in-fact. Most people simply appoint their closest family member. Other family members then question the designated person’s decisions, or the principal gets better and is upset about what the attorney-in-fact did.
Make sure that you appoint an appropriate person. If you are not sure who might be appropriate, your estate planning attorney can help you decide.
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