Potential clients come to my office seeking advice when their parents or loved ones have failed to execute powers of attorney. They are usually surprised and upset to learn that there is only one legal option to obtain the authority to make healthcare and financial decisions for their relatives. Sadly, they are not alone. It is estimated that 80% of adults in this country do not have powers of attorney.
In Louisiana, this only legal option is called interdiction. This option is long, expensive, and emotionally traumatic. Interdiction requires that a lawsuit be filed. This means that an attorney will have to be retained. Expensive attorneys fees and court costs will need to be incurred.
This lawsuit will need to be served by a Sheriff’s deputy on the loved one. Filing a lawsuit and having it served on the loved one can be emotionally traumatic for all involved.
If incapacitated, the loved one will not be able to file a responsive pleading to the lawsuit within the fifteen (15) days required by the law. Therefore, an attorney curator will be required to be appointed to represent the loved one to be interdicted. This will incur even more attorneys' fees and expenses.
Once that attorney curator has gone out, investigated, and filed responsive pleadings and a hearing is finally held, months can elapse. A temporary emergency interdiction can be obtained pending a final hearing but, this will require even more fees and costs to be expended.
In some cases, the loved one to be interdicted may be required to appear at the hearing. This can be even more embarrassing for all involved.
To make matters worse, the person the loved one that is to be interdicted wanted to serve, may not be selected.
Every person over the age of eighteen (18) that has the capacity, should execute a power of attorney. An “ounce of prevention, is worth a pound of cure”. Executed a relatively inexpensive power of attorney, can save time, money, effort, and heartache.