A power of attorney is a legal document that transfers control of some of your personal responsibilities to another person. There are a few basic types of power of attorney, one of which is a durable power of attorney. With a durable power of attorney, you immediately transfer the power, legally allowing the agent to start making decisions on your behalf right away. The agent’s decision-making power continues if the grantor becomes incapacitated. A durable power of attorney can be useful, but make sure you fully understand what you are doing before you sign one.What Is a Durable Power of Attorney?
A durable power of attorney, sometimes referred to as a letter of attorney, is a legal document that a person signs to transfer control over some element of their life or property to another person. In the case of a durable power of attorney, the power is transferred immediately and continues to apply even if you become incapacitated. The person transferring the rights is the grantor. The person that the grantor chooses to pass these rights to is the agent or attorney-in-fact.
Some states consider all powers of attorney to be durable unless the document notes that it is not. In those states, the power of attorney remains valid even after a person is incapacitated unless otherwise directed. There are four instances in which durable power of attorney can be canceled. This includes if the grantor revokes it, if it has an expiration date, if the grantor dies or if the grantor becomes mentally incompetent.Types of Durable Power of Attorney
There are a number of types of durable powers of attorney. These are generally sorted by the type of decision-making power you are giving to your agent. The types of durable powers of attorney you may end up using are as follows:
These are the steps to creating your own durable power of attorney:
The most important decision for those making a power of attorney is choosing an agent. Despite the name, the person does not have to be an actual attorney, though they can be. The most important thing is that they are trustworthy and know your wishes.
For a healthcare durable power of attorney, it is especially important to pick someone you trust and with whom you have shared any preferences you have for end-of-life care. A spouse, child or trusted friend might be good choices for this situation. Being clear about your wishes is the best way to make it as easy as possible for your agent in the event they have to make decisions for you.The Bottom Line
A durable power of attorney grants some of your personal powers and responsibilities to another person. It generally goes into effect immediately and remains in effect even after you become incapacitated. Many people use durable power of attorney for healthcare reasons. It allows the person you choose to transfer power to, called an agent, to make care decisions for you if you become incapacitated. Creating a power of attorney is fairly simple, but a lawyer can help.Estate Planning Tips
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