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The value and importance of an Enduring Power of Attorney and Personal Directive

When you are 18 or older, you could become incapacitated and be unable to make decisions about your property or health. But it is still possible to have your intentions followed by having a Power of Attorney for property and an Enduring Power of Attorney and Personal Directive.

An Enduring Power of Attorney for property gives another person legal authority to make decisions about your assets, while a Personal Directive gives another person legal authority to make decisions about your medical and health care, including whether you want every possible effort made to prolong your life and other decisions. Both should be prepared with the help of a Wills & Estates lawyer. It's also advisable to share your intentions with any individuals named in a Power of Attorney or in a Personal Directive.

Incapacitated with no Enduring Power of Attorney or Personal Directive

When adults lack the mental capacity to make decisions regarding their financial and personal affairs, The Adult Guardianship & Trustee Act authorizes a judge to appoint an individual to become a guardian or trustee, both of whom are required to keep the court informed of the actions they take to maintain the finances or health of the adult. Then someone may have to step forward to apply to the court to be appointed as a guardian or trustee.

You never know who a court will appoint, notes Wills & Estates Lawyer James Carr, and you may not agree with the decisions made by that individual, so it is always better to make that decision yourself by establishing an Enduring Power of Attorney and Personal Directive.

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