Some Nevada residents may forget that estate planning is not just about what will happen after their deaths, but it is also about what will happen if they are unable to care for themselves at some point. No one likes to think about becoming incapacitated, but it is a real possibility for anyone regardless of age. This is why powers of attorney are an integral part of any estate plan.
If a person is unable to take care of him or herself and/or is unable to make sound decisions, someone will need to step in on that person’s behalf. When creating a power of attorney, the most important decision will be appointing a person to act in an individual’s stead. This person needs to be someone that the individual trusts to carry out his or her wishes and will keep that individual’s best interests in mind.
Some Nevada residents may be concerned that the power of attorney can be used even if they are not incapacitated. Springing powers prevent this in most cases since it takes at least one physician, if not two, to declare the person incompetent before the durable power of attorney can be used. Incapacitation is often defined as not being able to handle daily activities such as dressing and eating. Furthermore, a person may by physically (such as being in a coma) and/or mentally incapacitated due to an injury or illness.
No one knows what tomorrow will bring. Therefore, it is better to plan for as many eventualities as possible. This means adding documents such as powers of attorney to an estate plan since death is not the only time a person may not be able to act for him or herself. Otherwise, family members could spend valuable time and resources in court obtaining the right to care for an ailing family member.
Source: fedweek.com, “Key elements of an incapacity plan“, Oct. 22, 2015