When it comes to certain challenges that you may or may not face during the latter portion of your life, you may adopt the attitude that you will just hope for the best. You’re certainly free to do this, but if you stick your head in the sand you may find yourself totally unprepared for certain eventualities. Nobody wants to be placed in a difficult situation, but if you are prepared in advance at least you mitigate the potential negative consequences.
Something to think about along these lines would be the possibility of mental incapacity. Believe it or not, statistics indicate that approximately half of the people who reach the age of 85 are afflicted with some form of dementia. Dementia can make it impossible for its victims to render sound personal, financial, and medical decisions.
Should you think that it is unlikely that you will live to this advanced age, you may want to consider the fact that at the present time the average lifespan is nearly 79 years, and the segment of the population that is at least 85 years of age is growing faster than any other.
If you were to become unable to make sound decisions without having made any advance preparations interested parties could petition the court to name a guardian to act in your behalf and you could become a ward of the state. This can be avoided through the execution of legal instruments called durable powers of attorney.
Standard powers of attorney are no longer in effect in the event of the incapacitation of the grantor. But durable powers of attorney do in fact remain valid should the grantor become incapacitated at some point in time. Some jurisdictions allow for springing durable powers of attorney, and these do not take effect unless the grantor becomes incapacitated.
To learn more about durable powers of attorney and incapacity planning, get in touch with an experienced elder law attorney to arrange for a consultation.