Did you know that an estate plan on its own isn’t enough to guarantee a successful retirement? Those legal documents—Wills and Trusts, Powers of Attorney, and Advance Directives—may give you a false sense of security, but they won’t prevent you from being forced into a nursing home if your health fails. They won’t keep you from losing assets to uncovered care costs, and they won’t stop you from being a burden on your family.
One estate planning document in particular leads to more problems for retirees than just about any other: the Power of Attorney.
Why is the traditional Power of Attorney so problematic?
The traditional Power of Attorney grants authority and assigns responsibility, but it doesn’t go far enough. It doesn’t come with any instructions, and that’s where the problems start.
A traditional Power of Attorney provides almost no guidance to your agents about what they should do with their authority. It says nothing about your goals and how you want your agents to meet them, how you want your life to be, or how you want your affairs managed. A traditional Power of Attorney is silent about the resources available to guide your agents as they attempt to run your life.
Will your agents do their best? They will certainly try. However, the actions they take might not align with your preferences.
The fact that 70% of Americans are unable to live out their last days in their own home is proof positive that traditional legal planning misses the mark. If you want a truly successful retirement, one where you don’t lose control of your life, your Power of Attorney needs to come with instructions that tell your agents exactly how you want things done when it’s time for them to step in.