Why is a Durable Power of Attorney so vital?

Why is a durable power of attorney so vital? I push them and say how important they are, but why? Hopefully convenience, but they may save you a lot.

Basicsโ€ฆ what does it do:

  • allows you to delegate powers, so that someone can act on your behalf;
  • the person acting on your behalf can not act against your competent wishes; and
  • the powers all expire automatically upon your death (so, do not make the common mistake of believing that this person has authority to pay final expenses, funeral arrangements after death, and so on)

Details

Two roles in the document:

  • principal (this is the person signing the document) and
  • โ€œattorney in factโ€ (the person to whom the powers are delegated)

What can they do on your behalf

Banking, taxes, insurance, pay bills, write checks, contract for utilities or medical care, lease, mortgage, buy, sell, mail, prosecute or settle lawsuits, make claims, receive review and act on personal medical information โ€ฆ the list goes on and on

Things they can't do on your behalf:

Make, publish, declare, amend or revoke my Will; ย Make, execute, modify or revoke a Living Will or "do not resuscitate" order or directive; ย Require me to take any action against my free will; ย Require me to refrain from taking any action against my free will; or ย Carry out any action I have specifically forbidden while not under disability or incapacity.

When can they act:

when you are present, or when you're absent, out of country, across the street, unconscious, asleep, comatose

When is it really important?

If your own competency fades; without it you need to go to court to be appointed as guardian (to be able to care for person) and Conservator (to handle business, finance, assets), even to act on behalf of your own family or spouse

Why is a durable power of attorney so vital? I push them and say how important they are, but why? Hopefully convenience, but they may save you a lot.

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