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The advantages of a power of attorney

Nevada residents who are contemplating an estate plan may not realize that in addition to being addressing how their assets will be distributed after they die, they also need to think about who will make financial decisions for them if they become incapacitated. A durable power of attorney gives someone the ability to make those needed financial decisions, and it is simpler and less expensive than obtaining a conservatorship after a person has become incapacitated.

One person found herself in this situation when she needed to sell her mother's home to pay for the mother's Alzheimer's care. She shared a bank account with her mother and was able to pay bills from that, but a power of attorney had never been prepared. As a result, her only option was to file a petition asking to be appointed as conservator of the mother's person and estate for medical and financial matters respectively.

A temporary emergency conservator appointment can be requested if necessary, but normally, a court takes some time before granting a conservatorship. There are also fees involved, and financial records have to be furnished to the court periodically.

Estate planning may be best done with the assistance of an attorney who can explain these and other possibilities. Trust documents can be used in various situations as well. For example, a trust might be used to distribute assets to children based on their age or educational attainment or for charitable donations. A trust might also protect an estate from creditors or pay some expenses of a relative with special needs.

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