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Powers of Attorney versus Protected Proceedings

When an individual cannot care for themself, whether it is due to age or incapacity, someone else may need to step in to handle the individual’s medical and financial affairs. If the individual has previously signed a medical power of attorney and/or a financial power of attorney, the agent named in these powers of attorney typically can handle the individual’s affairs. However, if the individual has not signed these documents or the agent named is no longer a good choice, a protected person proceeding may need to be filed with the court. Protected person proceedings can include a conservatorship and/or guardianship.

Powers of Attorney versus Protected Proceedings

Powers of attorney allow an agent to begin handling the individual’s medical or financial decision making without the involvement of the court. The agent is responsible for making decisions that are in the individual’s best interest. Not having court involvement can be both good and bad. No court involvement is typically cheaper and more informal. However, if the individual who created the power of attorney is incapacitated and is unable to monitor the agent’s conduct, little to no oversight exists.

On the other hand, with a protective proceeding, a court appointed conservator must file an annual report that reflects all the receipts and expenditures made from the protected person’s assets. In addition, a court appointed guardian must file annual reports regarding the protected person’s health and medical treatment. This allows the court to oversee the fiduciary. The court may take action on its own if the fiduciary breaches his duty to the protected person. However, formal protected proceedings are typically more costly than relying on powers of attorney.

If you have questions regarding the difference between powers of attorney and protected proceedings, contact the power of attorney lawyers at Brown Law Firm by calling 303-339-3750 to schedule an appointment.