Incapacity and death are scary prospects for most of us. As an elder law attorney, I see the consequences of failing to cope with the fear. Not facing your fears and meeting with an elder law or estate planning attorney can result in a lot of stress for your family — and a lot of expenses for you and your family when I get hired to clean up the legal and financial mess that didn't have to happen.
If you're incapacitated and don't have a durable power of attorney, someone will need to go to court for a conservatorship appointment in order to manage your finances. This can get pricey. Not only will there be legal fees and court costs, but the would-be conservator will need to get a surety bond. Depending on the amount of assets you have (aside from real estate), the cost of a surety bond can run from several hundred to several thousand dollars — every year. If your house needs to be sold or a mortgage obtained, there will be legal fees and court costs for that. If a trust needs to be set up to help manage your assets — yep, more legal fees and costs.
And let's not forget the amount of time it can take from when the paperwork is filed to the day a court order is actually issued — often 8 to 10 weeks or more.
All this lost time, money and work… it's all avoidable with a durable power of attorney.
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