power of attorney
Many of my clients have parents whose health is starting to falter. They may be unable to make decisions for themselves about their health, safety, or finances. However, in some cases the parents are reluctant to give up any control over their assets and don’t want anyone else to be able to make decisions for them.
I usually recommend that if possible, elderly individuals execute a power of attorney and a Georgia Advance Directive for Healthcare (in addition to a Will). A power of attorney and a healthcare directive will allow a named individual to make decisions about finances and health care in the event the elderly person is unable to do so.
In some cases, the elderly person no longer has the capacity to make good decisions about his or her finances, health, safety or welfare. In other cases, the elderly person might be being taken advantage of by a family member or friend, and doesn’t want anyone else to make decisions for him or her. In those cases, a guardianship or a conservatorship may become necessary.
A guardianship is a legal process in which a person asks the probate court to give him or her control over an adult’s health, safety and welfare. A conservatorship is similar but gives control over finances. Guardianships and conservatorships are often expensive and time-consuming, but in many cases are necessary to protect an individual from either being taken advantage of or from making poor decisions.
If you believe your mother or father or another loved one is in need of a guardianship/conservatorship, call Sarah White, Cobb County guardianship attorney, at 678-453-6490. She will help you walk through the process and will also help determine if any alternatives exist.
I get this question a lot. I also see a lot of clients with wills from the 70’s, 80’s or 90’s that are woefully out of date.
There are a few situations in which you should consider updating your estate planning documents. The first is if your personal situation has changed. Maybe you’ve gotten married or had children. Maybe one or more of your loved ones who are named in your Will have either passed away or your relationship with them has changed, and the documents no longer reflect your wishes. Maybe you did your documents when your children were very small and they are adults now. Maybe you have a great deal more or less money and property than you did when you originally did the documents. All of these would be good reasons to review the documents and consider updating them.
Another good reason to update your documents would be if you have moved out of state. It’s generally a good idea when you move from one state to another to at a minimum have your current documents reviewed, and generally they should be redone in accordance with the laws in your new state.
Another good reason to update or review your documents is if the estate tax laws have changed and you are unsure about whether you face an estate tax issue or not. A consultation with an estate planning attorney could potentially save you a lot of money that would otherwise go to Uncle Sam.
Do you think that your estate planning documents may be out of date? If you’re not sure, call Sarah White, Marietta estate planning attorney, at 678-453-6490 for a free consultation. I will be happy to discuss your situation with you. I serve clients in the northern suburbs of Atlanta, including Kennesaw, Marietta, Woodstock, Acworth, Cartersville, Canton, Smyrna, Roswell, and the surrounding areas. Call today to learn more.
This is a question I get a lot. The issue usually arises when an elderly person starts to need help with their finances or managing their regular activities. A power of attorney can be very valuable in situations like that. A power of attorney grants another person the right to handle an individual’s financial and legal affairs.
In order to get a power of attorney from a loved one, the individual granting the power of attorney must have sufficient mental capacity to enter into a contract. The person must know what he or she is doing by signing the document and giving someone else the power to manage his or her finances.
In some situations, it’s simply too late to do a power of attorney. The elderly individual may not have the mental capacity to do the document or may not want anyone else to handle his or her affairs. In that situation, a guardianship and/or conservatorship is needed. A guardianship allows a guardian to make decisions for an individual (called the ward) about his or her residence, health and safety. A conservatorship allows a conservator to manage an individual’s property.
If you are concerned about an elderly loved one, you should seek the services of a qualified Georgia estate planning attorney. If you’re in the metro Atlanta area, including Marietta, Acworth, Woodstock, Kennesaw, Roswell, Alpharetta or Decatur, call Sarah White, Marietta estate planning attorney, at 678-453-6490 today.
I am going to start a Youtube channel where I will specifically answer on video the questions I most frequently get from clients.
Two of the questions I most frequently get are: do I need to file these documents somewhere, and what do I do with them now?
In Georgia, a will is not filed anywhere until death, when it is presented to the probate court to be probated. You may wish to give your doctor, nursing home or hospital a copy of your advance directive for healthcare (also known as a “living will” or “healthcare power of attorney”). You may wish to give your financial power of attorney to the person who you authorized to use the power — but then again, you may wish to hang on to that power of attorney until it is needed.
As far as where to keep them, if you have a safe deposit box I would keep them there. If not, a home fireproof safe should be sufficient. You should keep copies at a second location.