Why retiring adults may benefit from durable powers of attorney

On Behalf of | Mar 17, 2024 | Estate Planning |

As people in New York age, they may feel more pressure to establish estate plans. Younger adults may procrastinate or may keep things as simple as possible by drafting only a will. Those approaching retirement age often need to think about their finances and their possible future medical needs carefully.

Even those who have previously created estate plans may need to go back over their existing documents to adjust them for their current circumstances. One of the estate planning moves that older adults in New York often make is the creation of durable powers of attorney. Especially when people must think about the potential for long-term decline as they age, preparing for the possibility of future incapacity may become increasingly important.

What is a durable power of attorney?

Power of attorney documents allow the principal drafting the documents to name an agent or attorney-in-fact to act on their behalf. Should the principal become incapacitated due to injury or illness, the agent they selected can conduct certain financial transactions or make medical decisions on their behalf.

Durable powers of attorney are a bit different than standard documents. They include special language to ensure that the documents continue to protect someone if they become permanently incapacitated. Someone who loses their testamentary capacity due to cognitive decline or who enters a persistent vegetative state might lose the protection of powers of attorney when they are most vulnerable.

Durable documents essentially retain their authority regardless of how long someone remains incapacitated. The principal can select someone they trust to hold the same long-term authority that a guardian or conservator might.

In New York, the rules for durable powers of attorney often require that people create separate documents for financial and medical matters. The creation of separate documents gives someone an opportunity to more effectively protect themselves by limiting the authority granted to any one person.

Even if someone hopes to remain healthy throughout their golden years, planning for the worst-case scenario is usually a smart move. Creating durable powers of attorney can give someone peace of mind as they age and greater protection if their health declines. Adults who create comprehensive estate plans are in the best position in this regard, as they prepare for retirement.