Should older family members consider a durable power of attorney for finances in case they become incapacitated?
One of the most difficult and complicated situations any family can face is the sudden and permanent incapacitation of someone close to them. The problems are worse if that person hasn't prepared a document that authorizes someone to act on his behalf regarding financial matters that may continue needing attention for as long as he lives. Although it may make him nervous to give anyone else power over his finances, without such a document, your family may be faced with the complicated and expensive process of having a conservator or guardian court-appointed for him.
Fortunately, there's a simple document that makes this court process unnecessary. It's called a durable power of attorney for finances -- the word durable means that it remains in effect after the person is incapacitated. Although it's a good idea to have a lawyer review the document, preparing it is a relatively simple and inexpensive matter that can save untold distress. Every older adult should consider having a durable power of attorney for finances. In fact, it's never too early to have one in place -- no one expects to have a stroke or accident, but when it happens the patient's family may need financial authority.