VanNess & VanNess, P.A.

Problems that can happen when people are incapacitated

When elderly Florida residents become incapacitated, family members may be left trying to figure out how to sell the incapacitated relative's home in order to pay for needed long-term care. Without a durable power of attorney or a trust in place, doing so can be very difficult for the family.

People are able to create durable powers of attorney in order to grant specified loved ones or other trusted individuals the power to make medical and financial decisions for them in the event they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves because of illnesses or injuries.

When these documents have not been drafted and the homes have to be sold, family members will instead need to petition the court to become conservators over their loved ones and their estates. Conservatorships require extensive documentation and accounting that has to be submitted to the court. There are also probate and other fees that are associated with conservatorship petitions. All of this is preventable if people simply draft the documents that are needed before they ever become incapacitated in the first place.

Many people put off estate planning, believing they will have time to draft their wills or other documents at some point in the future. Unfortunately, people may suffer from illnesses or accidents at any time and become incapacitated. Their families may face significant difficulties when that happens if no plan is in place. It may be a good idea for people to talk to an estate planning attorney in order to determine the types of documents that might be appropriate.

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