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How powers of attorney protect against abusive guardians

There are an estimated 1 to 2 million people under the care of a guardian or conservator throughout the country. Nevada judges place older adults under the care of a guardian for their own protection when they are deemed to be incapacitated. However, a guardian may not always have the best interest of the incapacitated person. In some cases, a guardian is a nursing home or so-called friend who is looking for a payday.

One way to protect against an abusive guardianship is to plan ahead. This means granting a trusted friend or other third party durable financial and medical powers of attorney. By making those powers durable, they remain in effect even if a person is mentally incapacitated. Whoever is granted financial power of attorney should be good with his or her own finances, and this person should provide reports to a neutral party on a periodic basis.

Someone who is granted medical power of attorney has access to medical records and may make treatment decisions. If anything changes, you may revoke the power of attorney for any reason. Whatever decisions that you do make, it is recommended that you don't put them off even if it may be a sensitive topic to think about.

Those who are mentally incapacitated may be placed under the care of a court appointed guardian. This may or may be the same person or entity who an individual would prefer to have making decisions on his or her behalf. An attorney may be able to help craft power of attorney documents or review any that may exist. This may help ensure that an individual's wishes are carried out if he or she cannot make decisions on his or her own.

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