“I don’t want anyone to go through what I am going through right now”

This is something that I hear constantly from clients who have relatives that didn’t have their affairs in order. Let’s take a prime example for which I get regular inquiries: a daughter, son, or some family member calls and wants to know what can be done for a relative who has severe dementia and is incapacitated… am I able to draft a power of attorney in order to take over the relative’s affairs? The answer, unfortunately, is a resounding “no.”
Once the person is incapacitated, a lawyer’s hands are tied. The only alternative is a guardianship, which is costly. When a family member file for this, a guardian is appointed, and the court requires that the guardian have an attorney for the entire duration of the guardianship (which naturally, can get quite expensive). Moreover, the guardian needs to get court approval on many things before taking action. Which again, is costly. This headache can all be avoided with proper estate planning documents.
Please make sure you have a Power of Attorney, Health Care Surrogate, Living Will, and a Last Will and Testament and/or Trust. These are invaluable documents, which are well worth the effort it takes to draft them!

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