When children reach the age of majority (typically the age of 18), their parents are no longer legally able to make decisions on their behalf. This means that every Nevada resident over the age of majority needs to have valid powers of attorney in place in the event that they become incapacitated — even temporarily. Do-it-yourself documents might not be considered valid when they are needed, and due to the importance of these documents, it would not be advisable to use them.
In the absence of powers of attorney, family members will be forced to go to court in order to obtain the right to act on the incapacitated individual’s behalf. This often means spending unnecessary time and money to set up a guardianship. In some cases, by the time the court proceedings are concluded, the individual has recovered from the illness or injury and is once again able to make decisions.
The same could be said for financial powers of attorney. Again, in their absence — or if the document fails to meet existing legal standards — it will be necessary to spend time and money on court costs and attorney’s fees. While there is no one handling the individual’s finances, bills could go unpaid and assets could be diminished.
Therefore, powers of attorney act like insurance policies for Nevada residents. If they are involved in accidents or contract illnesses that render them incapable of making decisions for themselves, the powers of attorney allow a trusted person or persons to quickly step in and handle health and financial matters. The specifics of these documents can be tailored to an individual’s wishes and needs, but without the assistance of an estate-planning attorney, he or she might not be aware of those options and could make a critical error in the drafting or execution.
Source: greenbaypressgazette.com, “Estate planning: Pay now or pay later“, Michael Maas, Aug. 1, 2016