Protecting Assets and Yourself With a Durable Power of Attorney
Hi, I’m Gary DeWitt. I own DeWitt Law Firm where I do estate planning and probate.
Today’s topic is protecting your assets and affairs during your lifetime with a durable power of attorney.
A durable power of attorney is a document that appoints somebody you know and trust to manage your legal and financial affairs if you can’t or don’t want to.
Without a durable power of attorney, your family may be forced to go to court to get a “guardianship” over you. A guardianship is a court order saying who has the power to make your decisions. In a guardianship, your rights are ripped away from you and given to somebody else. It may be somebody you didn’t want to have the power to make your decisions. And, there are annual reports due to the court. The guardian is required to keep good records and make annual reports back to the judge.
Often during guardianship proceedings, families argue. Or one sibling steps up and the other sibling has to go to court to defend mom or dad from that sibling. I’ve seen one where the son that lives with dad is seeking guardianship, and his daughter and him are having to fight it. In order to fight it, he has had to expose personal and private information in the public record. Like the fact that he had to undergo an evaluation from a psychologist that said he was capable of making his own decisions. If the guardianship is awarded, then his financial records will become part of the public record.
When you have a durable power of attorney, you’ve already picked the person or people to manage your affairs. You also get to pick and choose which powers they have and put limits on any power you want. And everything remains private.
Even if you have a trust, you still need a durable power of attorney. There are powers you can’t give in a trust that still need taken care of.
In summary, one of the most important things you can have to protect you and your assets is a durable power of attorney.
Your next step is to schedule your free meeting. At your meeting we’ll discuss your unique goals and come up with a blueprint to protect and preserve your family’s wealth.