A Durable Power of Attorney form is a legal document that gives a person the authority to act on behalf of another person in financial and/or personal matters even if the other person is determined to be incapacitated or legally incompetent to manage his or her own affairs.
The Durable Power of Attorney form gives authority to a person – Agent – to take care of another person’s affairs in the event that the other person – Principal – can’t take care of their affairs themselves.
A Durable Power of Attorney form is an especially useful estate planning tool and gives your Agent broad powers to act if the Principal is not able to. A Durable Power of Attorney form can be written to transfer responsibilities to the Agent immediately or written to go into effect upon the incompetency or incapacity of the Principal.
With Durable Power of Attorney, the Principal can select an Agent of his or her own choosing instead of a judge deciding on a court-appointed conservator. Thus, setting the foundation for positive succession planning to avoid family disputes and outlining beforehand how the Agent should take care of financial tasks and medical wishes.
Advantages of Durable Power of Attorney
The main benefit of Durable Power of Attorney when compared to General Power of Attorney is the durability clause that goes into effect in case the Principal becomes incapacitated.
If the Principal is not able to take care of his or her affairs because of incompetency or incapacity, a Durable Power of Attorney form passes authority to a chosen Agent to step in and take care of the Principal’s financial and/or healthcare needs. General Power of Attorney, on the other hand, terminates upon the incapacity or incompetency of the Principal.
This is the main difference and advantage of Durable Power of Attorney. When a Power of Attorney is made durable, the Durable Power of Attorney has the special durability clause that it will remain in effect through the incompetency or incapacity of the Principal.
Who Needs Durable Power of Attorney?
Unfortunately, things beyond our control happen everyday. Be prepared with a Durable Power of Attorney form and proactively protect your finances and medical needs. Anyone over eighteen years of age can give Durable Power of Attorney to a trusted Agent to make decisions on their behalf.
Your Agent should be someone you trust with your life, because that is exactly what you are giving. We suggest that your Agent be a spouse, son, daughter, close family member or trusted friend. When signing a Durable Power of Attorney form, you are giving the Agent the authority to act as you would act on financial situations and/or healthcare needs if you are not able to do so yourself. Essentially, you are putting your life in your Agent’s hands.
There are basically two types of Durable Power of Attorney forms:
- Durable Power of Attorney for Finances Form gives the Agent the authority to make all financial decisions on behalf of the Principal in the event the Principal becomes incapacitated. Durable Power of Attorney for Finances is given to take care of financial responsibilities like managing stocks and bonds, checking and savings accounts, real estate transactions, paying bills, making business decisions and more.
- Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare Form gives the Agent the authority to make all medical decisions on behalf of the Principal in the event the Principal becomes incapacitated. The Principal should outline all medical decisions the Agent should make and instructions for the kind of health care treatment the Principal wants.
How to Get A Free Durable Power of Attorney Form
It is a very important decision to make a Durable Power of Attorney. And, you don’t need to hire a lawyer to create your Durable Power of Attorney form. However, for some it can be very difficult to fill out a Durable Power of Attorney form and a lawyer can help simplify the process. We strongly suggest that you consult a lawyer for assistance when filling out the forms if you have any questions whatsoever.
For those of you that know what you are looking for and are confident in your do it yourself abilities, we offer hundreds of state identified, free Durable Power of Attorney forms to print – you can fill out the Durable POA form yourself and then print it out instantly.