Here are a few definitions that you really need to know.
Power of Attorney: This is a legal document in which you (the principal) designate someone (your agent) to act on your behalf if you’re no longer able to, for healthcare and financial decisions.
Guardianship: In this scenario – which usually happens if you don’t have a Power of Attorney – the court designates a person (the guardian) to make these decisions for you (the ward). It’s usually initiated by a family member or friend, who files a petition. After that, you’ll be examined by a physician, and a court will determine whether you’re able to make decisions regarding your health and/or property. If the court decides you’re not, they’ll appoint a guardian to make these decisions for you.
Conservatorship: This takes place when a court gives someone (the conservator) the power to make financial decisions for you (the protectee). The proceedings and relationships are similar to a guardianship; however, a conservatorship applies to financial affairs only. Sometimes, the court will appoint one person to be both guardian and conservator. Each designee is required to report to the court annually.
Given the choice, which one would you pick? Pretty simple question, isn’t it? I’d pick the option of creating my own Power of Attorney – in an instant!
Powers of Attorney for healthcare and financial decisions are not only relatively inexpensive (especially compared to a court case!), but also relatively simple. And they give you the power to decide for yourself who should manage your affairs if you can’t.
Without a Power of Attorney, you – and your family – will be dragged through an unfriendly, impersonal, and very expensive court process. In addition, the court may appoint a person who you would not have appointed.
At The Law Offices of Alice Reiter Feld & Associates, we’ve been helping people create personalized Powers of Attorney – along with estate plans, wills, trusts, long-term care plans, asset preservation, and planning for the VA or Medicaid – for the past 33 years. And we’ve helped thousands of South Floridians protect themselves and their families.
We’re just a phone call away.
What’s The Difference Between A Power Of Attorney And A Guardianship?