When it comes to estate planning, the various legalese terms can seem to become jumbled and overlap with each other. For many people, understanding the subtle and nuanced, yet very impactful differences between these terms can be an endlessly confusing task.
Two of these concepts are a will and powers of attorney. Both serve to benefit you and your family in the event of your incapacitation, but there are deeper differences as well. If you’re trying to understand the benefits of these two essentials, this is the place to start.
1. Durable Power of Attorney
If a scenario arises or an accident occurs that renders you injured, or if you become very sick, it is critical that you sign power of attorney as soon as possible. While this may not seem like the most pressing matter when something unfortunate has occurred, it is very important. Without powers of attorney, your family could face a plethora of financial troubles including loss of property, and perhaps more importantly, the right to decide on matters pertaining to your personal care in the event that you become incapacitated and are unable to make those decisions yourself.
Even if you already have a will, if you neglect to sign Power of Attorney, your family will have no say in these important decisions about your health and care. In addition, if your family wants to have these rights, they will have to spend significant amounts of money and time, with no guarantees of a positive outcome. It’s clear to see that taking the small steps to prepare for this type of situation in advance will have extensive benefits should an accident or illness occur.
On the other hand, a will, also referred to as a Last Will and Testament, is a document which outlines how you would like your care to be handled should you die. A will has no legal effect until your death, while a Living Will, also known as an Advanced Directive, takes effect in the case that you become to ill to communicate your wishes.
Chances are, if this is your first foray into estate planning, you’ve heard of a will. But, you may not understand the various types of power of attorney or what they mean for you. Here at Tabory Law, we believe that it is essential to have durable power of attorney and that this can be even more useful than a will. Here’s why.
3. Durable Power of Attorney
While general power of attorney grants wide-ranging powers and authority to the person of your choosing, durable power of attorney has additional conditions. If the document does not state that the power of attorney is durable, the granted powers are revoked when you become incapacitated. If it is durable, you can add a condition that a certified physician (or two) must vouch for your state of health for the powers to apply.
It is an excellent idea for an individual to have both a living will and have signed power of attorney as well. However, powers of attorney are often more crucial in the event of incapacitation or death; without them, the person who feels entitled to make decisions on your behalf will be subject to a lengthy and complicated process in order to obtain those authorities.
How you want your matters to be handled is no less important than who they will be handled by. Prepare for all possibilities and make what will already be a tough situation easier by signing powers of attorney as a precaution.
Need more information? Tabory Law LLC specializes in elder law, so we know exactly how to help with your personal situation. For those living in Kansas City and the greater area, Tabory Law is your top choice for handling all matters related to estate affairs.
If you need to know more about durable power of attorney and wills or you have any other questions, contact us today at 913-213-6585.