When people typically think of Wills and Trust Attorneys they think of death, taxes and all of the unavoidable situations. What I find surprising is, they rarely think of what would happen if they lost capacity. A simple picture to paint is a husband and wife who own a house and have 2.5 children. In that scenario both the husband and wife are owners on the house and both signed on the dotted line for the loan to buy the house.
Imagine if the husband lost capacity, perhaps an accident at work or a car accident on the way to the son’s baseball game after work. If the wife wants to do anything with the house such as sell it to move closer to family for support during a tough time with an incapacitated husband or even if she wanted to refinance to lower the rate during a difficult financial time, how can she do it? Both spouses signed for the loan therefore both signatures are required, but the husband has lost capacity.
That is why Estate Planning is needed. A simple, inexpensive Durable Power of Attorney would allow the wife to sign for the husband for financial matters when he has lost capacity. Next month I will dive deeper into what a Durable Power of Attorney is and how it can be used for good…and bad.
Matthew Hart is a California Licensed Attorney who is an Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law Specialist certified by the State Bar of California. He can be reached at 925-754-2000 or www.MatthewHartLaw.com and he has offices in Antioch and Walnut Creek.