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Top Reasons Everyone Needs a Comprehensive Power of Attorney

Did you know a comprehensive power of attorney is an estate planning and elder law document! The benefits of a highly detailed, comprehensive power of attorney are numerous but a main one is that it prevents precious time and money from be wasted in a moment of need.

Some incredible benefits of a well-thought out POA are:

· Determines who will make financial decisions for you instead of a Court

· Helps avoid the necessity of a guardianship

· Provides family members a good opportunity to discuss wishes and desires

· Allows for changing needs as a person ages; a person needs change and their power of attorney should reflect that. Seniors have concerns about long-term care, applying for government benefits to pay for care, as well as choosing the proper care providers. Without allowing the agent to perform these tasks and more, precious time and money may be wasted.

· Prevents questions about the principal's intent. Many of us have read about court battles over a person's intent once that person has become incapacitated. A well-drafted power of attorney, along with other health care directives, can eliminate the need for family members to argue or disagree over a loved one's wishes.

· Prevents delays in asset protection planning

· Protects the agent from claims of financial abuse. A comprehensive power of attorney often allows the agent to make substantial gifts to self or others in order to carry out asset protection planning objectives. Without the power of attorney authorizing this, the agent (often a family member) could be at risk for financial abuse allegations.

· Allows agents to talk to other agencies. An agent under a power of attorney is often in the position of trying to reconcile bank charges, make arrangements for health care, engage professionals for services to be provided to the principal, and much more. Without a comprehensive power of attorney giving authority to the agent, many companies will refuse to disclose any information or provide services to the incapacitated person. This can result in a great deal of frustration on the part of the family, as well as lost time and money.

· Allows an agent to perform planning and transactions to make the principal eligible for public benefits. One could argue that transferring assets from the principal to others in order to make the principal eligible for public benefits--Medicaid and/or non-service-connected Veterans Administration benefits--is not in the best interests of the principal, but rather in the best interests of the transferees. In fact, one reason that a comprehensive durable power of attorney is essential in elder law is that a Judge may not be willing to authorize a guardian to protect assets for others while enhancing the ward/protected person's eligibility for public benefits. However, that may have been the wish of the incapacitated person and one that would remain unfulfilled if a power of attorney were not in place.

· Provides immediate access to critical assets

· More opportunities to create any number of modifications to tailor each person’s situation to their needs and goals

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