“Durable Power of Attorney”

sunshine-stealth-by-attorneycavanaughEvery complete estate plan should include a Durable Power of Attorney.  A Durable Power of Attorney is a document where you give another person the authority to act on your behalf.  This person is called the attorney-in-fact. 

The attorney-in-fact will have the legal authority to make certain decisions on your behalf (similar to them “stepping into your shoes” for that decision”).   Even though another person has the authority to make decisions on your behalf, does not mean that you cannot make such decisions for yourself.  The Power of Attorney is only giving another person the right to act on your behalf in case you are otherwise occupied or unable to handle your affairs.

For example, if you are in the hospital, the person you name as yourhusband-by-jorielom attorney-in-fact can take care of important legal and financial matters for you, e.g., paying bills, depositing checks, etc.

The Durable Power of Attorney can take effect immediately or upon your incapacity (“Springing Durable Power of Attorney”).

The Durable Power of Attorney can be revoked by you at any time for any reason.

A Durable Power of Attorney cannot be executed if you are mentally incapacitated because at the time of execution you must know and understand what you are doing.

If you do not have a Durable Power of Attorney and you are unable to handle your affairs (e.g., become incapacitated), your loved ones will be required to go to court to get authorized to handle your affairs.  The court case can be lengthy and costly, as well as emotionally draining.  Therefore, taking the time now to execute a Durable Power of Attorney is worth the minimal effort it takes.

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