To think of power of attorney in comparison to guardianship – you would usually execute a power of attorney because you want to avoid guardianship. Both involve decision-making on behalf of another, but power of attorney is a process that you can control now, while guardianship is the court taking over and deciding who will make the decisions for you when you lose the capacity.
A power of attorney is a document that you execute now, when times are better, and you still have the capacity to make a valid legal document. You are giving someone the power to make decisions on your own. You can limit the power to certain matters like financial and health care issues, or you can execute a general power of attorney. You have control over who you choose and the scope of their power. When you are incapacitated and can no longer make your own choices, the power of attorney will vest and become effective.
If there is no power of attorney, the court will need to step in because someone needs to make important decisions when you can no longer make them on your own. In that case, the court would need to appoint a guardian. This can be a contentious process when the family does not agree. In the end, it would be the court that decides who becomes your guardian, and the power would be more general. Your wishes are not considered. You can avoid this situation by executing powers of attorney now.
Contact a Lincolnshire Estate Planning Lawyer Today
Powers of attorney are a part of any comprehensive estate plan, which we would help you determine and execute. To learn how the lawyers at Charles Newland & Associates can work with you, call us at 847.797.9300 or reach out to us online.