What Makes A Power of Attorney Durable

What Makes A Power of Attorney Durable

A Power of Attorney is a valuable tool in your estate planning arsenal. This legal document allows you to grant authority to someone of your choosing to take action on your behalf.

You can use a Power of Attorney to give someone the ability to pay your bills while you’re on vacation for example, or to act on your behalf during a financial or real estate negotiation.

But unless the Power of Attorney is “durable,” it expires if you become incapacitated. This is an important point to remember because many people use Powers of Attorney specifically for the purpose of protecting against disability.

There are two basic types of durable Powers of Attorney: one that works for financial matters as outlined above and the other for health care decisions. In order for these documents to protect you if you are incapacitated, they must both be durable.

Then, should you become unable to handle your own affairs, the Durable Power of Attorney for finances would allow your appointed agent to handle your financial affairs for you. They can pay your bills, access your checking and savings and even continue to negotiate financial and real estate transactions on your behalf, if you so choose.

The Durable Healthcare Power of Attorney enables someone to speak on your behalf with regard to medical decisions, such as treatments or medications you may or may not want.

In order for a Power of Attorney to be useful when you need it, you also need to know why some institutions will not accept them. A Power of Attorney must be extremely comprehensive in order to adequately give authority to handle exactly the things your agent may need to take care of. Some institutions require that a Power of Attorney be on their own form. In addition, Powers of Attorney should be re-signed regularly as many institutions won’t accept them after a certain period of time (some insist that the Power of Attorney be no older than 6 months!). To learn more about Powers of Attorney and how to protect yourself in the event of incapacity, give us a call today.