What is a Durable Power of Attorney?

Jul 19, 2010

Estate planning is all about protecting you and your loved ones from the unknown. One of the ways to do that is to use an estate planning tool called a Durable Power of Attorney.

This legal document enables you to choose someone to act on your behalf in the event that you become disabled or incapacitated. The person named in your Durable Power of Attorney would be able to pay your bills, transfer money to and from your accounts and enact financial transactions for you.

And if you’re thinking you don’t need a Durable POA, think again.

Disability can strike at any time. Strokes for example, often strike seemingly healthy people with no real medical concerns. Suddenly, you’re unable to take care of yourself and must rely on family members and friends to it for you. But when it comes to writing checks on your account or discussing payment plans with creditors, not just anyone can do that. They must first have your written authorization – something you’re no longer able to give.

Now without that authorization, your family will have to go to court and have you declared incompetent. This can be a lengthy and costly process, not to mention personally humiliating for you.

See why a Durable Power of Attorney is so important?

Fortunately, your estate planning attorney can help you draft a Durable POA that addresses all your concerns. You can make it active only in cases where a doctor has certified a need or it can be active from the time you sign, something that might come in handy for married couples.

A Durable Power of Attorney will end upon your death and it can also be revoked by you and by court order.

To learn more about drafting your own POA and other estate planning tools, give our office a call today.

Michele A. Tutoli is a Member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.

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