Why Estate Plans Need a Durable Power of Attorney

A durable power of attorney in Colorado Springs and Denver CO is an important estate planning tool, and it is one of the most essential components of many estate plans. A power of attorney is a written legal authority given by one party, called the principal, to another, called the agent, proxy or attorney-in-fact, to act on the principal’s behalf.

Since a person making a legal document must have the capacity to do so, there is often language added to a power of attorney in an estate plan that allows it to be durable. To make a power of attorney durable, a specific clause is added to the document to allow it to remain in effect, or even take effect, should the principal become incapacitated.

An estate plan should have a durable power of attorney document to prepare for the possibility of incapacitation due to illness, age or even an accident. As an estate planning document, it is usually specified that the power of attorney would not go into effect unless a doctor certifies that the principal is incapacitated, or upon any other event that can specified within the document. While powers of attorney may not always be accepted by every institution, it is certainly best to have one.

You do not have to choose an estate planning lawyer to be your agent in a power of attorney, but it is important to select someone that you trust. The family member, friend or even the institution that is chosen as an Agent will be acting on your behalf regarding financial or health care issues, and they must act within your best interests and within the terms that are specified in the power of attorney document.

There are other estate planning tools that can be used in place of a durable power of attorney, such as a health care proxy or a living trust, that can manage finances and property later in life. But it is essential to have a tool that allows you to avoid the intrusion of a court ordered process, such as a guardianship or conservatorship, to handle finances should you no longer be able to do so on your own.

An estate planning attorney can work with you to create a comprehensive estate plan that not only allows for the distribution of property upon your passing, but can help manage issues that can come up later in life.

Author Bio

Catherine Hammond is the CEO and founder of Hammond Law Group, a Colorado-based estate planning law firm she founded in 2005. With a strong focus on protecting families from the legal consequences of disability and death, she creates comprehensive estate plans that minimize taxes, costs, and government interference.

A native of Denver, Catherine completed her undergraduate studies at Coe College in Iowa, and her Juris Doctorate from the University of Denver College of Law in 1993, concentrating on estate planning, tax, and mediation. Catherine is a member of various professional organizations, including WealthCounsel, ElderCounsel, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, the Colorado Springs Estate Planning Council, and the Purposeful Planning Institute. Beyond her legal expertise, Catherine provides transformational coaching to support clients and their families through life transitions.

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