Every adult ages differently. Family history, personal lived experiences and various other factors influence the kind of cognitive and physical symptoms that someone experiences as they age.
Many older adults retain their mental acuity and independence their entire lives before dying of natural causes. Some adults will experience cognitive decline as they age or will develop medical issues, like Alzheimer’s disease, that limit their ability to live independently.
While you may hope for a long and healthy retirement, there is no guarantee that you will be one of those independent older adults. Can estate planning documents help protect you from an involuntary guardianship?
Powers of attorney could help you maintain personal control
Guardianship is sometimes necessary, even if no one likes to admit it when it is time for such intervention. If an adult reaches a point where they can no longer make decisions in their own best interests or manage their household, other adults may step in to offer them support. They can even go to court to assume legal authority over the adult.
Family members or even medical professionals could seek a guardianship over a vulnerable adult who has struggled to manage their own life. The adult subject to the guardianship would then lose control over their living circumstances and finances.
Although you cannot prevent age or medical issues from compromising your mental acuity, you can absolutely prevent an unknown individual from taking control over your life. Durable powers of attorney will persist even beyond your incapacitation and will allow you to name your own health care proxy to help handle your care. You can delegate authority for medical and financial matters to individuals that you know and trust.
Advance planning can make all the difference. You will have an easier time enjoying your retirement if you act now to protect yourself regardless of what the future holds. The creation of powers of attorney and other medical documents, like advanced directives, can also provide support and guidance for your loved ones.
Thinking ahead to what the future may bring can help you see the benefit of adding advanced directives and powers of attorney to your estate plan to protect you.