It gives an individual power to manage your legal and financial affairs while you are alive but incapacitated due to illness or accident. A DPOA ends at your death (that’s where the will takes over).
A power of attorney is a written document where you (the “principal”) allow another person (the “agent”) to act or make decisions on the principal’s behalf. The power of attorney can limit the agent’s power to specific actions, such as purchasing a car or selling your home. Alternatively, the DPOA can give the agent broad powers, such as handling health care decisions, financial transactions, and legal documents. You decide who you give the power(s) to and how much power you give them. Due to the powers involved, the agent should be someone you fully trust, whether a family member, friend, or advisor.
There are many varieties of power of attorney, but the durable is the only one that remains effective if you suffer an incapacitating illness or accident. Your agent acts on your behalf because you cannot. So, a DPOA is the only power of attorney you need.
A power of attorney is very flexible. You can change who you give the powers to and how much power you give them at any time. This is important because your needs and wishes may change.
Whether you’re getting a new will or updating a will, it makes sense to review your power of attorney, too. If you had a power of attorney with your late spouse and have not updated it, who is going to act in your best interests now? It is important that you designate another (you can have more than one power of attorney, by-the-way) immediately.
As mentioned in the first article, you can get a durable power of attorney at LegalZoom (www.legalzoom.com) starting at $35. Or try Rocket Lawyer (www.rocketlawyer.com) or www.findlaw.com if you want to do it yourself. Whatever method you choose, you will have to get the power of attorney notarized to make it legal.
A power of attorney is a powerful tool should anything happen to you where you need someone to act on our behalf. Life is uncertain, so the best way to combat that is to have a power of attorney.