What is a Durable Power of Attorney and why do I need one?
A Power of Attorney is a document granting a person, deemed your Agent, the authority to make decisions and execute documents on your behalf. What type of decisions and documents your Agent can make for you depends on what authority you grant them in your Power of Attorney. A Durable Power of Attorney is a particular kind of Power of Attorney that will be effective even if you become incapacitated. If you become incapacitated or otherwise unable to handle your affairs, a Durable Power of Attorney allows your Agent to handle your affairs for you. Usually this includes banking, investing and other financial transactions. By giving your Agent this authority, you can avoid the necessity of a court appointed guardian to manage your affairs.
Your Agent has a fiduciary responsibility to make decisions that are within the scope of authority you gave them in the Power of Attorney and that are generally in your best interest. However, you should be very careful in selecting a trustworthy Agent because you are giving them a lot of power. Your Power of Attorney is typically effective until your death or until you revoke it. A Power of Attorney cannot be used by an Agent after your death to transfer your property. If there are assets titled in your name when you die, a probate proceeding will need to be opened to transfer the title. (*link Probate #1)
More Information: Please see our Wills and Trusts page