Ensure the True “Power” of Your Power of Attorney for Finances

It’s critical that you have a strongly written Durable Power of Attorney for Financial Purposes (“POA”) in case you become unable to manage your finances as part of a Long-Term Care Compliant Estate Plan.  Beware if you rely only on POAs that hospitals provide, or that you have pulled off the Internet, or was prepared by a non-attorney or that you have got from other attorneys who do not focus their practice specifically on elder law and long-term care estate planning.  When an emergency arises, the bank or health-care provider may refuse to allow your agent to act – and then the only recourse is to go to Probate Court and get a Conservatorship.

This is definitely not what you want to hear in an emergency. Conservatorship proceedings cost time and money, they expose your private affairs to the public, and you or your elder can lose control of your autonomy. Worst case, unfriendly family-members can try to take advantage of a helpless elder, and it can cost tremendous anxiety and expense to defend against that threat.

This is why our Durable Powers of Attorney and Advance Heath Care Directives combined total around fifty pages.  They serve as cornerstones of  a Long-Term Care Compliant Estate Plan.  We want to help to anticipate as many nuances as possible, to ensure that when you need assistance, your documents will be there to avoid Conservatorship and to help you get the responsible financial coverage and health-care treatment you need.

A client came in recently with a Living Will from another state. She wanted know whether it would do the job for her father. We said emphatically “no.”

–   The document failed to specify the kind of health-care the father would want; and

–   It failed to comply with California law, meaning that it likely wouldn’t work here; and

–   It failed to protect the father’s agent from liability for a bad decision; and

–   It failed to provide the agent with access to essential medical records; and

–   It even failed to designate who should serve as an agent!

Our Advance Health Care Directives do much, much more than that. And our Long-Term Care compliant Durable Power of Attorney is so meticulous that we’ll cite just one example: We provide over two pages of detail covering real-estate transactions. We affectionally call them “Super” Powers of Attorney as they stand head and shoulders above all others.

Check your POAs to see whether they do all of the above – and if not, come see us. Please contact us today at 877-585-1885 or schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal matters.

Thanks for reading.

Christopher E. Botti, Esq., Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law