There are plenty of assets payable when someone dies. But not when someone becomes disabled. It always saddens me when one spouse becomes disabled, and the other one often doesn’t have the power to make decisions about their assets. Then they have to file a guardianship to prove that they’re capable of handling the finances.
If your loved one becomes disabled, and doesn’t have the right documents in place, your family will soon find itself in court, filing for a guardianship or conservatorship (in which a person appointed by the judge becomes “conservator” of your family’s assets). It’s messy. It’s time-consuming. And it’s a drain on the entire family.
A judge – a stranger – is going to end up overseeing every cent the family spends. In a guardianship or conservatorship, a judge becomes involved (intimately) in your family’s private affairs. And your expenses often become part of the public record!
Legal fees for drafting Powers of Attorney – which can help you avoid scenarios like this one – are relatively low. But legal fees for representation in guardianship or conservatorship hearings, on the other hand, can be very costly.
Tragic, isn’t it…when you consider that a few hours with an Elder Law attorney could spare these families the trauma.
Powers of Attorney give you the “power.” You need one for your property and your finances, for sure. But what about your health? Do you want a stranger making those decisions for your family, also? If not, you also need a power of attorney for healthcare decisions…so a stranger won’t be the one deciding what steps should be taken to care for you.
When someone has Durable Powers of Attorney for both financial and healthcare decisions, his/her family has the power to decide what’s best. And he/she demonstrated the foresight to make life much easier for the family.
I’m Alice Reiter Feld. I’ve been practicing Elder Law here in South Florida for 33 years. And, sad to say, I’ve seen far too many families raked over the coals because they didn’t take the time to protect themselves, and to protect their assets, with items such as powers of attorney, trusts, long-term care planning, and asset protection.
At The Law Offices of Alice Reiter Feld & Associates, our mission is to save our clients from this long, dark road.
We can save you from it, too. And we’re just a phone call away.
Why You Should Protect Yourself From Guardianships In Florida