Estate plans often include multiple different documents that each serve a special purpose. Wills often serve as the most important individual document in an estate plan because they identify beneficiaries and provide instructions regarding the care of someone’s dependents. Other people may use trusts to structure the descent of their property when they die.
Living documents can be as important as legal paperwork addressing what happens after someone’s death. People can leave instructions about their medical care and even name someone to handle their financial matters if they become incapacitated and cannot manage their own matters temporarily. Powers of attorney help establish legal authority for a specific, trusted individual in a scenario involving incapacitation.
Those in Florida making the effort to include powers of attorney in their estate plans will likely want to talk to their lawyer to ensure they include the right language to make those documents durable.
What makes durable power of attorney different?
In theory, documents without special language included could lose their authority when the person who drafted them becomes permanently incapacitated. If the courts declare someone incapable of managing their own affairs, that could invalidate some of their existing legal paperwork.
Durable power of attorney documents specifically include language that gives the paperwork authority even after someone becomes permanently incapacitated. If someone wants the power of attorney paperwork that they draft to protect them from an involuntary guardianship due to health issues as they age, including language that makes the document durable will be crucial to achieving that goal.
Durable documents give testators more control
The idea of losing authority over one’s healthcare and finances is not a pleasant one, and durable power of attorney documents are one of the few effective ways someone can protect themselves against the complete loss of control over their own life.
The documents that someone creates while healthy and of sound mind can designate specific, trusted individuals to manage their finances and healthcare rather than leaving them at the mercy of whoever might seek authority after their incapacitation. Adding durable powers of attorney to an estate plan can give someone control over who protects them when they are at their most vulnerable.