When you are a child, up until you turn 18 years old, your parents or guardians make most important decision for you. One you are an adult, however, you have to make your own decisions. If you are unable to make decisions on your own, such as if you get sick or injured to the point of incapacity, someone else will have to make decisions for you. If you haven't ever appointed anyone to do so, the court might make your decisions.
As far off as those days might seem, you never know when you will need to have someone appointed to take over your affairs. Because of that, it is best to make those choices and handle the necessary paperwork now to avoid potential problems later. An example of the problems that can potentially occur is highlighted in a recent story out of Portage, Michigan.
An elderly lady was homebound and lived by herself. She opted to give her podiatrist powers of attorney. She also signed a will leaving the podiatrist her assets. A mere four days after the elderly woman made these changes, the podiatrist petitioned the court to have her committed to a mental hospital.
The podiatrist is now accused of taking money from the 91-year-old woman who passed away in 2011. It is alleged that the doctor spent over $100,000 on the elderly woman's credit cards. This money, however, allegedly wasn't spent on the elderly woman. Instead, it was supposedly spent on "personal and family items" for the doctor. The podiatrist is scheduled to go to court this month on embezzlement charges related to that spending.
According to court records, the elderly woman had almost $1 million in savings, real estate and jewelry. Her estate has challenged the new will that leaves everything to the doctor.
When you make the decision to give someone power of attorney, you have to make sure that person is someone you can trust. When you make out a will, you have to make sure that the beneficiaries will follow your wishes for your estate. While this elderly lady probably made the decisions she thought were best, in the end, it seems as though she was used for her money. Consulting with an experienced Michigan estate planning attorney might help you to avoid a similar situation.
Source: WWMT.com, "Portage podiatrist headed to trial on charges of theft" No author given, Jan. 29, 2014