Nicole: Another horror story of not having a financial power of attorney is that we have a client who came to me when a conservatorship hearing was already opened for her. She did not feel that she needed to have a conservator officially appointed, and I had to explain to her we needed doctor’s notes, all of these things. With that, the conservatorship hearing itself on just one side of it costs anywhere between $10,000 to $20,000. These are extremely expensive hearings that only last one day. There’s a lot of background work that happens before the one-day hearing, and there are a lot of hoops that need to be jumped through. You need doctor’s letters, if we have any old financial powers of attorney, those would be helpful in showing that you want someone you trust to be appointed, not a conservator.

In this particular case, that was the client’s biggest concern, was having a professional appointed because they cost a couple of $100 an hour, they don’t know your wishes or what your main goals are in life. Once a doctor says you’re good to go, you can make these decisions for yourself. You have to go back to the court and ask permission, and the court does not always say yes. Having financial powers of attorney in place beforehand helps avoid this entire process, the fees, the hearing, and all of the hoops that need to be jumped through.