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Chapter 3. Substitute Decision Making

Chapter 3. Substitute Decision Making

In so many areas of financial and personal legal planning if you fail to plan, the law, by default, will impose a plan on you. Quite often that imposed plan is not only more costly than if you had done personal planning, but may not even approximate what you would have chosen had you done proper planning. In the area of wills, for example, if you neglect to have a will drawn, the law determines who gets your assets.

Nowhere is this failure to plan more important than in the area of planning for incapacity. If you do not have a Durable Power of Attorney, that is, a document by which you appoint the person you wish to make financial decisions for you and the conditions for exercising those decisions, the law will require that a guardian or conservator be appointed on your behalf. This person may or may not be the person whom you would have chosen to help manage your financial affairs. In addition, the process of a guardianship or a conservatorship is much more time consuming and costly than merely having a Durable Power of Attorney drafted for you.

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