estate planning

Get a Durable Power of Attorney to Avoid Conservatorship

If you have already created a Durable Power of Attorney, you should not need a conservatorship.

It’s bad enough to rely on the state of California to distribute your assets when you die, but it’s even worse if a California judge has to oversee your assets while you are alive.

If you become incapacitated, which means you are no longer capable of managing your affairs, e.g. alzheimers, dementia, etc., then someone else must manage your assets for you. For that someone to manage your assets, you must have already signed a durable power of attorney.

What is a Durable Power of Attorney?

A durable power of attorney is a document that gives the person you name the authority over your assets, like bank accounts and real property, if you become incapacitated. The person you name, your Agent, can take the durable power of attorney to your bank and get access to your accounts to take care of you - pay your bills, etc.

Read More: Estate Planning Checklist for California Residents

However, if you did not sign a durable power of attorney, no one will have the authority to manage your affairs. And once you become incapacitated, it’s too late to sign a durable power of attorney, because you are incapacitated. Incapacitated people cannot sign legal documents.

So now what? Your loved ones will have to hire an attorney and petition the court to appoint one of them or someone the court chooses as your conservator. A conservator is a person authorized by the court to manage your affairs, and in many cases the conservator must submit an account of her activities to the court for the judge to review. 

Conservatorship is an expensive, tedious and nightmarish solution, which could have been simply avoided if you had signed a durable power of attorney.

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