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Durable powers of attorney affect family dynamics

Family dynamics can play an important role in determining the best way to structure one's estate as the Colorado individual grows older. In some families, conflict is the norm; in others, peace reigns. Additionally, when emotions regarding an adult child's mom or dad become involved, the dynamics can quickly change. As a result, planning for this possibility and establishing durable powers of attorney specifically addressing who should make decisions for the individual can be essential to maintaining family harmony.

As the individual grows older, he or she may reach a point at which he or she is no longer able to make decisions. When this happens, the individual will need someone who can pay bills and conduct other financial transactions on his or her behalf. If this has already been addressed and a loved one or professional has been identified through durable powers of attorney documents, then there should be no problem. However, if this has not been done, it is too late for the individual to designate someone.

Without durable powers of attorney in force, it will be up to the courts to appoint someone to act on behalf of the individual. This leaves the door open for decisions to be made that may not be in keeping with the individual's desires. Additionally, in thinking that they are doing what is best for their parents, adult children sometimes disagree about how things should be handled. Without guidance from the individual, this disagreement can lead to family discord.

Many Colorado residents find that by establishing durable powers of attorney, they have done their families a great service. In addition to identifying the individual responsible for handling their business once they are unable to, these individuals often discover that the family dynamics during this difficult time are more in keeping with the way things have been in the past. Experienced legal counsel can help one draft the essential documents and identify the appropriate individual to take on this important role.

Source:, "POA Pitfalls: Potential Problems in Granting Powers of Attorney", Susan Willett, Feb. 1, 2018

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