Medical advancements have allowed many Georgia residents to live longer, but this means that more Georgians may face a diminished mental state in their later years. Residents who might be impacted by dementia and Alzheimer's disease should choose an agent by granting a power of attorney.
A financial power of attorney and a durable medical power of attorney are essential parts of many Georgia estate plans. A power of attorney authorizes another person to act on your behalf and sign your name. When combined with a health care directive, a power of attorney can make sure that your wishes regarding your financial affairs and health care are followed when you are incapacitated due to a serious accident or illness.
There are many different ways to grant a power of attorney that we have discussed in previous posts. The power of attorney document can be left with a trusted estate planning attorney until it is ready for use or you can also use a "springing" power of attorney. A springing power of attorney becomes effective upon a certain event, such as the incompetency of the grantor. One issue that may arise with a springing power of attorney is that incompetency may have to be medically determined, therefore delaying the time in which the appointed agent can act.
Unfortunately, a power of attorney is also a license to steal according to Forbes Magazine. Therefore a power of attorney should only be given to those who you trust. A close family member who will respect your wishes and lives nearby is an ideal candidate. Some states also allow individuals to appoint joint agents. Therefore an estate planning attorney or an accountant can be appointed along with a family member to make sure that everything is done properly.
Source: Forbes, "Estate Planning For Women (And the Men Who Love Them)" Deborah Jacobs, 5/19/11