Adults in Pennsylvania can add an assortment of different documents to their estate plans. Each document typically fulfills a specific purpose.
For example, many people are familiar with basic power of attorney documents. They know that they can assign someone they trust financial or medical authority before they become incapacitated and are unable to transact their own business. However, some Pennsylvania residents choose to create durable powers of attorney. What role do durable powers of attorney serve in a Pennsylvania estate plan?
They protect against permanent incapacitation
A standard power of attorney has authority when someone has a temporary issue that renders them incapable of expressing their medical wishes to others. It may lose its usefulness if the courts declare an individual permanently incapacitated, which could occur when someone pursues guardianship or conservatorship over an ailing adult.
Be careful of free power of attorney forms you find on the internet. Without proper drafting by an experienced attorney, incorrect powers of attorney may leave people without support exactly when they need it the most. Durable powers of attorney retain their legal authority even when someone becomes permanently incapacitated due to extreme medical issues, like dementia.
People who create durable power of attorney documents in accordance with Pennsylvania law can effectively choose the person that they want to serve as a guardian or conservator to oversee their medical care or manage their financial resources when they become incapable of doing so on their own behalf. Durable powers of attorney are, therefore, a very useful inclusion in a Pennsylvania estate plan, as they can protect someone from a scenario in which an individual whom they don’t particularly trust obtains authority over them due to medical challenges.
Learning about the different estate planning tools commonly utilized in Pennsylvania may help people choose the right documents for their specific needs. An experienced estate planning attorney can go over your particular situation with you and can suggest the specific documents you might need to have peace of mind that your affairs will be managed the way you wish.