Part of estate planning is determining who is in charge of managing your estate if you are incapacitated. For some, a springing power of attorney makes sense. However, there are some disadvantages to using it. If you are considering using a springing power of attorney, here is what you need to know.
What Is a Springing Power of Attorney?
A springing power of attorney is a document that allows someone to take control of certain aspects of your finances and other matters in the event that you are incapacitated and unable to make decisions for yourself. For instance, if you were in a coma, the person designated in your power of attorney would automatically be given the power to handle the affairs outlined.
What Are the Advantages?
One of the advantages to creating a springing power of attorney is it is a relatively inexpensive procedure. Outside of the attorney's fees for helping to create the power of attorney, there are no other expenses.
Another advantage is that you have the power to determine who is responsible in the event that you are unable to make any legal, medical, or financial decisions. By making this decision now, you decrease the odds that a family conflict will occur over who makes decisions for you.
What Are the Disadvantages?
Although there are many advantages to using a springing power of attorney, there are some disadvantages. For instance, since the power of attorney is activated by incapacitation, you have to be very clear on what constitutes being incapacitated.
Obviously, if you are unconscious and are not expected to recover soon, you can be considered incapacitated. However, if you are conscious and there is some question of whether or not you are mentally capable of making decisions, whether or not the power or attorney is activated is debatable. Your designated person could be forced to go to court to prove that you are incapacitated.
There is also the issue of privacy laws. In order to take control of your finances and other matters, the designated person will have to provide medical evidence of your condition. There are privacy laws in place that prevent the sharing of your personal medical information. Obtaining the documentation from your medical care providers could be difficult.
If you are unsure whether or not a springing power of attorney is for you, consult with an estate planning attorney (such as one from Great Plains Diversified Services Inc). He or she can help identify additional challenges and determine the best course of action for handling them.