The Durable Power Of Attorney is the most important document that we, as attorneys, draft for our clients.
If you reach the age of 70, you have an 80-85% chance of becoming incapacitated before you die (yes, for women, it is 85%, sorry gents!). This means you need a trusted person as your Agent under your Durable Power Of Attorney to take care of financial decision-making if/when you cannot. If you do not have a Durable Power Of Attorney, and bills need to be paid, or managed (let’s say you get the corona virus and are in the hospital on a ventilator, for example…) your family will have to go through the rigorous, painful and expensive extensive process of establishing a guardianship to manage your affairs.
Why Guardianship Is Not The First Option
Guardianship usually takes 8-10 weeks to establish and the average cost is $8-10,000. There is no other option for loved ones, even a spouse, to sign on your behalf. As we age, the chance of incapacity increases as well as the risk of becoming exploited because our financial acuity also decreases (remember, that our financial acuity is at its highest at age 53-55, and that 20% of seniors will become exploited/scammed to the average tune of $17,500 and that it is a $36.5 billion dollar business every single year in the United States!). It is very likely that YOU, YES, EVEN YOU, WILL need help with managing those assets.
Why Durable Power of Attorney Is The Preferred Choice
Having an agent designated under your durable power of attorney can help. Executing a DPOA does not remove any financial decision making power from you. We encourage everyone to develop a trusted contact for your financial affairs. This should also be your trusted contact with your financial advisor.
We talk a lot in our law firm about the exploitable brain and the losses that come with that scenario. Sometimes the losses are astronomical, and many of our clients never recover. The losses can be life destroying. Changes in the aging brain make us more susceptible to financial exploitation and scammers take advantage of that. The option of using trusted contacts/and the Durable Power Of Attorney can protect against exploitation.
Your Next Step To Establish A Durable Power of Attorney
There is not a one size fits all Durable Power Of Attorney. Each client and situation is different requiring a customized document and plan for your individual wishes to be realized. We have helped many clients over the years create estate planning documents and we can help you. Give us a call to set an appointment. Remember, your estate planning initial call is at no cost.
Connect with The Miller Elder Law Firm: 352.379.1900
The Miller Elder Law Firm
Shannon Miller, founder of The Miller Elder Law Firm, is a Florida Bar Board Certified Elder Law Attorney practicing in Gainesville, Florida. Ms. Miller is a member of the Florida Bar Elder Law Section’s Legislative Committee, a Past President of the Academy of Florida Elder Law Attorneys (AFELA), and is a frequent speaker on elder law issues. She is highly specialized in handling financial exploitation cases and recovering assets for its victims. Other practice areas include guardianship, wills and trusts, probate, estate planning, special needs planning, medicare planning and asset freeze litigation. Ms. Miller also serves as an expert for exploitation legislation impacting the state of Florida by protecting vulnerable adults.