What is the most important estate planning document?
Most people would say a will.
But consider three scenarios:
Delores and Rob had wills leaving everything to each other and then to their three children. Rob dies, leaving everything to Delores. Delores develops dementia five years later and has a full power of attorney to son #1 – who then sells her house, her car and all her belongings and puts her into a nursing home. She dies with nothing in her name. What difference does it make that she had a will leaving everything to all three children? She dies with no estate so nothing passes pursuant to the will. The other two children get nothing (assuming that they are unable to prove son #1 used her assets for his personal benefit, or don’t have the assets to launch a challenge to his actions under the power of attorney.) In this situation, the most important estate planning document is a power of attorney.
Charles has a will leaving all to his son but no power of attorney. He has a stroke and is permanently disabled, unable to make any financial or medical decisions. He has no Power of Attorney to anyone.
In order to make financial and medical decisions, Charles’ son must file for Interdiction and have Charles declared incompetent. This is a court proceeding costing thousands of dollars. In the meantime, no one can access the bank accounts, sell the car that Charles can’t drive, or rent the house to get income to pay Charles’ medical and nursing home costs. In this situation, the most important estate planning document is a power of attorney.
Nancy’s family uses the Notary down the street for a “fill in the blank” Power of Attorney. However, they can’t find the original, their copy is not certified, and the Notary omits the ability of the Agent to sell property, and has the Agent sign as a witness. Nancy is now not able to execute a power of attorney because of her dementia. Nancy’s family must file for interdiction and have Nancy declared incompetent.
In all three situations the lack of a power of attorney to a person who will act in the best interest of the disabled person is truly more important than a will.
At Miramon Law, we can do a power of attorney for financial or medical decisions or both at a reasonable fee. Let us give you a quote on a valid Louisiana Power of Attorney. You can fill out the worksheet online and we email you a quote prior to any commitment or beginning work.
Don’t wait until it is too late! You need a power of attorney! Fill out the Power of Attorney Worksheet.