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Getting your powers of attorney in order

Everyone in Colorado should have a power of attorney in place, no matter how old they are. That said, elderly individuals are especially in need of a power of attorney for obvious reasons -- they are more at risk of suffering a catastrophic health event that could render them incapacitated and unable to make decisions for themselves.

It is a shame that the vast majority of Americans have never taken the time to establish both a financial and a medical power of attorney. Indeed, when an incapacitating illness or injury strikes these individuals, their family members are left in a very tricky legal situation. Not only do their family members have to take legal action to establish guardianship over the incapacitated person's affairs, but the family must also come to agreement on who will be the guardian. Squabbling over these and other decisions can result in an outright legal mess that could take expensive litigation to resolve.

As for incapacitated individuals who have already designated their financial and medical powers of attorney beforehand, the process is far simpler. The powers of attorney step in to start making the decisions that need to be made without any delays and no one will be able to challenge their authority.

It is important that Colorado residents consider carefully who they choose to serve as their powers of attorney. For example, a young relative who does not have a very much worldly and financial experience would not be the wisest choice to serve as a financial power of attorney. Make sure that whoever you select as your power of attorney is mature enough, responsible enough, healthy enough and has enough time to take charge of this area of your life. Finally, it is important that the selected individual is spoken with beforehand, to ensure that he or she is ready and willing to step up to the plate when needed.

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