When you are in perfectly good mental health, it can be hard to wrap your head around the idea that you may well become unable to make sound medical and financial decisions at some point in time. Though people are aware of the fact that elders sometimes become incapacitated in this manner, many adopt the “this will never happen to me” stance. This may be a mistake. When you look into the facts surrounding the subject the reality is that a significant percentage of senior citizens do in fact suffer from dementia eventually.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, one out of every eight senior citizens are suffering from the disease and 40% of people who are 85 years of age and older are Alzheimer’s sufferers. If you include other causes of dementia, upwards of half of the oldest old are indeed suffering from some form of dementia, which can of course strip its victims of the ability to make sound medical and financial decisions.
This is why incapacity planning is so important, and it is usually achieved through the execution of legal instruments called durable powers of attorney. The difference between a “durable” power of attorney and a standard power of attorney is that the durable POA remains in effect after the incapacitation of the grantor. There is also a springing durable power of attorney, and these documents do not take effect until and unless the grantor becomes incapacitated.
When you are executing your durable powers of attorney you must name agents to act in your behalf. Since the person that you would like to see making your medical decisions may not be the best choice for making financial decisions, you can execute two separate durable powers of attorney and name a different respective attorney-in-fact for each document.
To gain a more in-depth understanding of incapacity planning and durable powers of attorney, simply take a moment to arrange for a consultation with an estate planning attorney.