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Estate planning issues: Powers of attorney are for everyone

When most Delaware residents think about a time in their lives when they will not be able to make decisions for themselves, they imagine being elderly. However, a debilitating illness or injury does not discriminate. Even young adults could end up needing a trusted family member or friend to make decisions on their behalf, even temporarily. That is why most estate planning includes the execution of durable powers of attorney.

A regular power of attorney could expire upon your death or incapacitation. A durable power of attorney survives these events. A recent law passed by the Delaware legislature allows you to be as specific as you wish when providing instructions in your DPOA. The law also requires that your wishes be honored to the letter.

One of the reasons that many people fail to execute an estate plan is cost. However, the upfront costs you pay to have a DPOA and other documents drawn up is nothing compared to what your family members could pay if you do not have an estate plan. Without a DPOA, or a will for that matter, your family members will have to petition the court for the right to take care of you during your incapacitation or take care of your estate after your death.

Estate planning is not just for you. If your family members know that you have a plan in place, including durable powers of attorney, you all enjoy the peace of mind from knowing what will happen if you become incapacitated or die. No one knows what the future holds, so it would be advisable to get these documents in place as soon as possible regardless of your age.

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