Wills, Trusts, Estate Planning & Probate

Durable Power of Attorney

A Power of Attorney is a legal document that authorizes one person (the “Agent”) to act on another’s behalf (the “Principal”). The Agent can manage the affairs of the Principal when the Principal is unable to do so, which may include for example, managing assets, personal property, real estate, operating businesses, estate planning, and handling tax matters.

A durable power of attorney will remain in effect even if the Principal becomes incapacitated. Further, a durable power of attorney can allow for the management of the affairs of someone who has become incapacitated without the need for court intervention, which can be costly and inefficient. However, it is very important for a Principal to choose an Agent that is trustworthy and will be capable of managing the affairs of the Principal. The Principal is able to control his/her future needs by choosing an Agent who will carry out the wishes of the Principal.

The Principal can revoke a durable power of attorney at any time. It may make sense for a Principal to give notice to certain parties, such as his/her banking institution, should the Principal choose to revoke a power of attorney. In the case of incapacity, a court appointed guardian may be needed in order to revoke a power of attorney if an Agent is found to be acting improperly.

A durable power of attorney is considered a valid legal document and should be generally accepted by most parties. Even though a power of attorney may be considered indefinite by its own terms, certain parties, such as a bank, may believe the instrument to be stale after a period of time, so it can be beneficial to update a power of attorney.

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