Durable Power of Attorney vs LPS Conservatorship?
A power of attorney in general is a legal document that many people sign in order to safeguard their financial and medical future in the case that they find themselves incapacitated due to physical ailment. The principle in an power of attorney can also dismiss agent whenever he or she wishes. The agent in a power of attorney can act on behalf of the person if they find themselves incapacitated but if the person is considered capable, they bear the right to make their own decisions. Some instances where the power of attorney may be used is in the case of dementia, Alzheimers, coma, or stoke. However, a power of attorney must be signed when the person is coherent and not impaired. If the person becomes incapacitated after the fact the court may step and in manage the person's business. A power of attorney cannot be signed when someone is declared legally incompetent.
A lot of legal articles discuss whether a patient should consider an conservatorship or a durable power of attorney? In many cases a durable power of attorney over the person and estate is the best option for those who suffer from dementia and other elderly diseases. However, with disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, the patient may find it difficult to sign a power of attorney given that they are impaired by delusions and psychosis. If the patient refuses to sign one because they believe that someone is trying to control them, then no further actions can be taken against them. The patient can sign themselves out voluntarily or decide that they want to quit taking their medication and no one bears the power over them to force them to stop.
With an LPS conservatorship, the patient can be forced to take medication and accept treatment against their will. Even if they object or wish to fire their conservator they cannot simply accomplish this. Rather it takes lengthy court processes for the conservatee to petition for a new conservator. The conservatee also can be placed in a locked facility against their wishes whereas a power of attorney never authorizes closed locked treatment. The durable power attorney rarely permits involuntary psychotropic treatment.
My final words? I believe that a power of attorney for financial and an LPS conservatorship of the person may be the best solution for persons who suffer from mental illness.
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