Durable Power of Attorney
A Durable Power of Attorney for Finances is an important aspect of estate planning. Sometimes an unexpected life event happens leaving a person temporarily or permanently incapacitated. This important document will make sure your personal affairs will continue to be property handled without the necessity and cost of court intervention.
The Nuts and Bolts of a Durable Power of Attorney
A Durable Power of Attorney for finances is an inexpensive, reliable legal document. In it, you name someone who will make your financial decisions for you if you become unable to do so yourself. If you ever do become incapacitated, the Durable Power of Attorney will likely appear as a minor miracle to those who are close to you. You can give your attorney-in-fact authority to do some or all of the following:
- Use your assets to pay for your everyday expenses and for those of your family.
- Handle transactions with banks and other financial institutions.
- Buy, sell, maintain, pay taxes on and mortgage real estate and other property.
- File and pay your taxes.
- Manage your retirement accounts.
- Collect benefits from Social Security, Medicare or other government programs or civil or military service.
- Invest your money in stocks, bonds and mutual funds.
- Buy and sell insurance policies and annuities for you.
- Operate your small business.
- Claim or disclaim property you get from others.
- Make gifts of your assets to organizations and individuals of your choosing.
- Transfer property to an existing living trust.
- Hire someone to represent you in court.
You can tailor your Durable Power of Attorney for finances to fit your needs by choosing which powers you grant and by placing certain conditions and restrictions upon the attorney-in-fact. For example, you can give your attorney-in-fact authority over your real estate, with the express restriction that your house may not be sold.
Things a Durable Power of Attorney Cannot Do
A Durable Power of Attorney does have limitations and restrictions. Here are some things a Durable Power of Attorney cannot authorize your agent:
- To make healthcare decisions for you.
- To marry on your behalf.
- To adopt anyone on your behalf.
- To vote for you in public elections.
- To represent you in legal proceedings.
- To make a will on your behalf.
- To give powers already legally delegated to someone else by another means.
- To continue to act on your behalf after your death.
Your Durable Power of Attorney is an important document in your esate plan. As such, it is essential that the document is properly prepared and valid. If you search the internet you can probably buy or download a generic power of attorney template. However, if you do, be aware it may not comply with your state’s requirements and it could be out-of-date. Investopedia warns, “this document may be too important to leave to the chance that you got the correct form and handled it properly.” A legal document assistant can prepare your durable power of attorney for a fraction of the cost an attorney will charge. Using a legal document assistant for this important task will ensure your durable power of attorney will serve its intended purpose.