The Issue: I am unable to adequately manage my property.

Another issue which arises in planning an individual’s estate is the management of his or her property in the event he or she is declared incompetent and unable to adequately manage his or her affairs.  So that the person’s assets may be used to provide for his or her support and other needs, the Court in such instances may require the appointment of a guardian for an incompetent person.  This process requires the expenditure of attorneys’ fees and related court costs, in addition to the time and effort to maintain the proceeding to conclusion.  Needless to say, this is not an acceptable alternative.

The Solution: Appoint an Attorney-in-Fact.

A person’s preferred course of action is to execute a GENERAL DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY. With this document, a person appoints an “ATTORNEY-IN-FACT” to act on his or her behalf, permitting the attorney-in-fact to exercise all powers over property that the person could otherwise exercise.

Among other things, the power of attorney empowers the attorney-in-fact to write checks, sell and transfer assets, buy property on the person’s behalf, and legally bind the person under contracts.  Furthermore, since by its own terms the power of attorney is “durable,” it remains effective in Virginia despite a person’s subsequent incompetence, thereby eliminating the need for the appointment of a guardian.

We hope that the above discussion has brought to light many of the issues which must be addressed in the estate planning process. It is intended for informational purposes only and to assist a client in his or her general understanding of the estate planning process. We do not intend for this to be an exhaustive discussion of all issues involved.  Nor do we intend for this information to be a substitute for legal advice.  However, if you have any questions about any of the above information, or if you need additional assistance with your estate planning, please feel free to contact us.